THE CBCP welcomes with joy and appreciation the decision of the Supreme Court. With a very interesting vote of 8-7, the Supreme Court has spoken: No to People’s Initiative as has been conducted by Sigaw ng Bayan and ULAP. As declared earlier by Malacañang and the leadership of Congress, that decision eagerly awaited must be respected. Let it be so. Congratulations to the Supreme Court for standing free and independent despite external and expensive pressures.
From the beginning, since January this year, the CBCP in several Pastoral Statements had expressed doubts on the People’s Initiative on account of the haste in the process and alleged deception or manipulation in securing 6.3 million signatures. From the moral standpoint, we should not on that account put the fate of more than 80 million people on such signatures. And so we prayed.
We have reasons likewise to doubt the process whereby some from the House of Representatives plan to convert itself into a Constituent Assembly. Please pardon the term, but Charter Change by Congress converted into a Constituent Assembly will have all the appearance of “self-service” and “lutong makao.” We will pray against that.
If Charter Change is really necessary, if a shift from the presidential to parliamentary form of government is really necessary, the CBCP had been recommending Constitutional Convention whose membership shall be elected democratically. We hope to get in it the respectable and acknowledged legal luminaries of the country together with people of integrity in civilian society. If we cannot stop the train of Charter Change, we suggest that we change the tract of this train to Constitutional Convention. We will pray for it.
What are the reasons given why we need to change the presidential system of government? Inefficiency of the system to bring progress and modernity, graft and corruption, economic poverty, social injustices, hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, unemployment of millions of our people. We must remember that the above reasons cannot be committed by the system of government nor by the present Constitution as such. It is people who cause them. If they will stop committing them, these problems will be solved, even before we change the constitution and shift to parliamentary system.
Neither the Constitution of the Land nor any form of government will work miracle for the good of the people, but the people who run all the institutions of government through honest work. Any system of government, Presidential or Parliamentary or Monarchy, will be good if the leaders in it are servant-leaders, men of credible integrity and transparent accountability.
(SGD) +Angel N. Lagdameo
Archbishop of Jaro
October 26, 2006