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Left-wing solons raise ‘no elections’ fears
In The Press Posted on April 20th, 2009.
MANILA, Philippines – Left-wing lawmakers raised fears anew that a resolution seeking to amend economic provisions in the Constitution was a ploy to convene a constitutional convention, postpone the 2010 elections, and extend the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other incumbent officials.
House Resolution 737, authored by Speaker Propsero Nograles, was placed in the chamber’s order of business on Monday.
“The only reason they are doing this is to postpone the 2010 elections,” Bayan Muna party list Representative Teodoro Casiño told reporters.
“They are trying to protect President GMA [Arroyo] and not just the president, but the senators as well who will also gain an extension of term. They won't have to pay for campaigns and get at least three more years," he added.
"The constituent assembly can address any amendment. It is not limited at all to a particular amendment. Anything goes, from amending the economic provisions to term extension," Akbayan party list Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel said.
Baraquel maintained that members of the House of Representatives could not convene lawmakers into a constituent assembly without the concurrence of the Senate, voting as a separate body.
“The House cannot touch the resolution at all, at least not without the members of the Senate. A constitutional violation would be committed the moment HR 737 gets deliberated in the plenary today,” she said.
Nograles’ resolution seeks to amend economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution but some lawmakers said that a phrase in the document could pave the way for the convening of a constituent assembly.
Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo said amending economic provisions could wait until after the 2010 elections.
Even if restrictions are eased to allow foreign ownership of business, this would not necessarily benefit the country, Gabriela Representative Liza Maza said.
Maza cited as example Mindanao, wherein multinational companies like Dole and Del Monte “exploit” local workers while focusing their production to meet the demand of other countries.
"House Resolution 737 should be re