Bishops question timing of Cha-cha bid

January 13, 2021 - 6:00 PM
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Progressive groups and students held a protest to oppose the Charter Change in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City. (Kabataan Party-list)

Some Catholic bishops raised concern over fresh moves to amend the 1987 Constitution at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said that what is suspicious is that proponents are using “all kinds of reasons” for Charter change.

“Before it was for economic reasons and to reform the party list laws… and now the coronavirus,” Pabillo said. “This is very suspect.”

He said the ongoing Charter revision effort will only rouse suspicion that several politicians only want term extension.

“At this time, to push for Cha-cha is to extend or avoid election or avoid accountability of their misgovernance,” Pabillo said.

Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches also expressed reservation on the latest campaign to change the Charter with less than two years remaining in the Duterte administration.

“If they did say that they want to amend the Constitution to address the coronavirus epidemic, ask them to tell that to the marines,” Bacani said.

For his part, retired Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon also questioned the timing of the renewed talks for Charter change in Congress.

“No need for a change just because of a pandemic, which has no real effect on our present Constitution. I oppose this renewed push for Charter change,” he said.

The House of Representatives earlier said it would resume deliberations on constitutional change to ease economic provisions during the pandemic.