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Mercado to Cha-cha critics: Better to propose than oppose

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The chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments hit back at critics of the move to change the 1987 Constitution and switch to federalism.

“It is not enough that critics oppose,” Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado said in a statement.

“It is much better for critics to propose solutions, present alternatives, raise options. We are here to listen and take a look at various ideas on how to make the federal constitution being drafted a much better charter than the 1987 Constitution,” he added.

Mercado’s committee is drafting a Federal Constitution that will guide Congress when it has convened into a constituent assembly to introduce changes to the Charter and shift to federalism.

The congressman allayed concerns that Charter change would lead to another dictatorship.

“A dictatorship ended in 1986. We are not going to let that part of our history repeat itself,” he said.

“We are going through all this trouble to produce a charter that is much better than the 1987 Constitution because we want to prove to future generations of Filipinos and to the world that it was this 17th Congress and the Duterte presidency that had the political will to build upon the successes and strengths of Philippine democracy,” Mercado said.

He said a federal constitution “will precisely give even more safeguards against dictatorship because of the dispersal or sharing of executive power, by dismantling the vestiges of Imperial Manila.”

“There are many concerns about federalism being abused by political dynasties. To address these concerns, we then ask the various sectors to seize the opportunity of this very public debate on charter change to present their proposals on how to convince non-traditional candidates to venture into politics and public service,” he said.

“Let us then give voters more options. Let us give new breeds of public servants the opportunities to enter politics.” Mercado said.