Solon warns of invented public consent to Cha-cha

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio raised the alarm on moves of Congress leaders and the President to make it appear the public wants the Constitution changed.

President Benigno Aquino has been cited to be open to different ideas on charter change, advanced by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, and “come up with what’s best for our people.”

The progressive lawmaker warns that their next step might be to claim popular support for Charter change.  In the past, the administration displayed the habit of citing questionable “successful consultations” as proof of popular support for its moves, such as the K to 12 program, indefinite postponement of the ARMM elections, and CCT doleouts.

Refuting the claim, Tinio said, “The people, especially teachers and their students, remember well the lessons of history—leaders who campaign for charter change to promote their own political and business interests.”

“The ordinary men and women on the street are aware that the causes of their poverty are precisely the interests now raised as motives for Charter change—foreign ownership of industries, dominance of profit orientation in public utilities, and priority for debt and military spending over education and other basic social services.”

Tinio also urged Enrile to leave the Constitutional provision mandating budgetary priority to education alone.

“As it is, the provision holds very little sway over political leaders beyond mere lip service,” Tinio said.  “But this is relied on by the campaign for higher state support for basic and tertiary education.”

“The national government should be more concerned with providing for weapons of mass empowerment instead of weapons of mass destruction.”

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