Anglican Bishops Say No to Arroyo’s Cha-cha

Northern Dispatch
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BAGUIO CITY – As President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s allies in the House of Representatives have not given up their move to transform Congress into a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) to amend the 1987 Constitution, bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) have joined the opposition to charter change.

The ECP bishops believe that the Chacha, through the Conass, is a means for GMA to remain in power after the end her term in 2010.

“The congressmen’s unreasonable insistence to pursue charter change despite strong public opposition validates our fears that the President will use them in the constituent assembly to perpetuate herself in power,” the bishops said in a statement.

The bishops also likened the present political situation to what happened during the rule of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.

“It is certain that the conduct of charter change will be characterized by intense lobbying, backroom dealings, political trade-offs, bribery and corruption, the deception and manipulation that are characterizing marks of the incumbent administration,” they stated.

Under the leadership of House Speaker Prospero Nograles, House Resolution No. 1109 was railroaded. It sought to make amendments to the Constitution by convening a constituent assembly.

Constitution experts believe that the House cannot convene a constituent assembly without the participation of the Senate. They said any change in the constitution through the constituent assembly can only be done by three-fourth votes of all the members of the Lower House, and separately three-fourth votes of all senate members.

The ECP bishops who signed the statement are Prime Bishop Edward P. Malecdan, Bishop Alexander A. Wandag of the Episcopal Diocese of Santiago, Bishop Renato M. Abibico of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Luzon, Bishop Brent Harry W. Alawas of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines, Bishop Danilo L. Bustamante of the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines, Bishop Joel A. Pachao of Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines, and, Bishop Dixie C. Taclobao of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines.

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