Bishops: Pushing Charter change ill-timed

Bishops: Pushing Charter change ill-timed

By Roy Lagarde

July 21, 2020

Manila, Philippines

Catholic bishops on Tuesday criticized the renewed push for Charter change amid the country’s struggle to contain the deepening health crisis.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, administrator of the Manila archdiocese, said it is not the right time for Constitutional amendments as cases of coronavirus continue to rise.

“This is another sign in insensitivities of politicians. It is not Cha-Cha that the people need, but food, jobs, health, education,” Bishop Pabillo said.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the government should instead focus on the safety, food and economic security of the people.

“They should prioritize bills that will uplift their living and working conditions,” he said.

“Give emphasis on jobs creation, improvements of internet connectivity, especially with modular and online learning,” Bishop Santos added.

“Very bad move. There is no need for a Charter Change now. This is self-serving of Duterte and his cohorts!” said retired Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon for his part.

The country’s 1,488 municipal mayors have earlier expressed support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to amend the Constitution.

The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) submitted a resolution to the Department of Interior and Local Government seeking Charter change.

In 2018, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral statement opposing moves to revise the 1987 Constitution.

The bishops’ collegial body also warned against a “creeping dictatorship” in the face of “self-serving” motives for Charter change.