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Lawmakers ‘slept on job to fully implement’ Charter —constitutionalist

One of the framers of the 1987 Constitution said on Thursday that the problem on the non-fulfillment of the Charter’s vow of social justice lies not in the code itself, but in the lawmakers  who failed to ensure its full implementation for the past three decades.

At the fourth Senate hearing on Charter change, lawyer Christian Monsod said the Constitution was written during a time of “celebration” and “hope,” on the heels of the peaceful EDSA People Power Revolution that unseated a dictator.

“If there is anger, it was not when we were writing the Constitution, the anger is today when we see that the promise of a new social order is not being kept and there are people even blaming the Constitution which has all the provisions to fulfill that vision,” he said.

“The problem is not the Constitution but our legislators who slept on the job for 30 years to fully implement it. Or when reform legislation was passed, made sure that it was watered down and underfunded. This is the legislature that wants to rewrite the Constitution,” he added.

Monsod called the PDP-Laban’s proposed federal charter “disappointing,” saying the political group itself acknowledges that mass poverty and inequalities will only be "indirectly” addressed by the proposal.

“That is why the PDP-Laban version of the constitution is so disappointing, because PDP-Laban was very much a part of EDSA,” he said.

“Why is it pushing for a federal-parliamentary system which they admit does not directly, but only indirectly, address the twin problems of mass poverty and gross inequalities that is central to a new social order?” he also said.

He also slammed the Duterte-allied PDP-Laban’s supposed delegation of the articles on economy and on social justice and human rights to business and academe think tank Foundation for Economic Freedom.

Because of this, social justice provisions were replaced by “themes of business,” he said.

“Doesn’t PDP-Laban know that if they remove social justice as the central theme of the Constitution, there will be hell to pay from the poor?” read his position paper.

Monsod claimed he is for federalism, but “at the right time where the preconditions for its success are present.”

“Because a messed-up structure change is virtually irreversible and may lead to the ruin of our democracy. I submit that there may be an alternative to consider rather than an immediate structural change by 2019,” he said.

At the hearing, various resource persons sounded off on their position on the timeliness of a shift to a federal form of government — some of the experts invited, like former Supreme Court Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza, held the "not now" line, while incumbent government officials defended federalism. — MDM, GMA News