Progressive Solon Calls for Vigilance amid Postponement of Con-Ass

Congress should not waste time locked up on the contentious proposal for a Con-Ass as there are more pressing issues that should be addressed, an activist congressman says.


Rep. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis (toiling masses) party-list called Dec. 9 the postponement of the convening of the controversial Constituent Assembly “a victory for the Filipino people who are united in opposing Con-Ass.”

Representative Beltran, who is detained at a government hospital in Quezon City for rebellion charges since February this year, was reacting to reports that House Speaker Jose de Venecia has announced the postponement of Con-Ass and the holding of the May 2007 elections as scheduled.

De Venecia’s pro-Arroyo colleagues at the House railroaded the passage of House Resolution 1450 providing for the convening of Con-Ass with or without the participation of the Senate.

Most members of the Senate are opposed to the move, saying that the proposal to convert Congress into a constituent assembly to revise or amend the 1987 charter should be voted upon separately by the two chambers.

But Beltran said the House speaker’s move to postpone Con-Ass for one week “could very well stretch to months…It may well be that the Con-Ass is dead.”

It does not matter if de Venecia and the pro-administration legislators postpone the convening of Con-Ass by a week. “The public is now on red alert against it, prepared to mount the broadest and most militant opposition against Con-Ass in particular, and charter change in general,” he said.

“There are more urgent and important issues that should be addressed such as increasing unemployment, the worsening state of human rights, and the general deterioration of the quality of life of majority of Filipinos. There also remains the issue of the culpability of the executive on the charges of electoral fraud and corruption. Amending the constitution is nothing but a distraction from these more urgent matters,” he said.

The activist congressman appealed to church and religious leaders as well as other special interest groups to thumb down all moves to amend the Constitution at this time.

Beltran said that the public clamor remains for the measures that will give immediate economic and political relief to the poor and working people such as substantial wage and salary increases for public and private sector workers; the scrapping of the oil deregulation law and the privatization in the oil industry, and the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators behind the 798 political and extra-judicial killings. (

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