NO TO CHA-CHA COALITION LAUNCHED BY A COALITION LED BY TWO FRAMERS OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION

A “No to Cha-Cha Coalition”, led by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario P. Davide, Jr. and former COMELEC Chairperson Atty. Christian S. Monsod, was launched last 13 February 2018. During the launch, held at the Malcolm Theater of the UP College of Law in UP Diliman, Quezon City, the coalition presented a host of reasons for rejecting moves to change the Constitution.

Former SC Chief Justice Davide, Jr. and Atty. Monsod, both members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, stated that a shift to a federal form of government is not the answer to the country’s problems.

Former Chief Justice Davide, Jr. sees no need to amend the Constitution and believes that, assuming an amendment is necessary, the amendment should not include a shift to a federal system of government. In his opinion, a federal system of government is not suited to the country and the people because it would divide the country instead of uniting it. In his view, dividing the country into several states will lead to the creation of false loyalties, a large and bloated bureaucracy, and political dynasties.

He pointed out that the present Constitution is an ideal one because it contains sufficient provisions against abuse of power and institutionalizes the doctrine that public office is a public trust. He noted that the problem rests in the non-implementation of a majority of the Constitution’s provisions, giving rise to the impression that amendment is necessary to address societal issues. Instead of amending the Constitution, he stated that an amendment of the Local Government Code will suffice to address the issues.

Atty. Monsod, on the other hand, pointed out that among the innovations introduced in the 1987 Constitution is social justice. According to him, the proposed amendments to the Constitution does not directly address mass poverty and social inequality. He believes that these problems may be directly addressed by coming up with programs and implementing them. He likewise stressed that a shift to a federal form of government is not required for fiscal development, noting that not all the regions can support themselves financially. Like the former Chief Justice, he proposes, as an alternative to a shift to a federal form of government, the amendment of the Local Government Code to devolve real powers to the local governments. He also suggests the enactment of laws on fiscal decentralization and similar laws which will empower the regions and the local governments. In his view, these will allow the local governments to achieve meaningful self-determination without shifting to a federal form of government.

Atty. Monsod believes that a strong political party system is an essential precondition to federalism and warns about the irreversibility of federalism.

The other members of the coalition present during the launch are former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares and Satur Ocampo, Lorenzo Tañada III, Sr. Mary John Mananzan, and Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez.

Former SC Chief Justice Davide, Jr., former COMELEC Chairperson Monsod, and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares are all alumni of the UP College of Law.