By Raymund Antonio
Former solicitor general Florin “Pilo” Hilbay warned on Wednesday against the passage of the proposed federal charter in the House of Representatives.
Hilbay sounded the alarm against Resolution of Both House (RBH) 15 at a press briefing in Quezon City, where he said the resolution does not seek to shift the Philippines to a federal system of government.
He said the move to amend the 1987 Constitution is aimed at paving the way not for federalism, but for the lifting of term limits for lawmakers and the abolition of the anti-political dynasty provisions.
“Walang kinalaman dun sa kapakanan ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan (This has nothing to do with the welfare of ordinary citizens),” Hilbay, a lawyer, told reporters.
Voting 224-22-3, the House on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the RBH15 authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It was passed after three-fourths of the lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution.
Charter Change is among the 17th Congress’ top priorities this year. The goal is to amend or revise the Constitution in order to shift to a federal form of government.
Hilbay underscored the need for Filipinos to unite and fight against this “clear and present danger to our democracy.”
“Isang Cha-cha na hindi naisama ang mga mamamayan ay Cha-cha lamang ni Gloria, Cha-cha ng mga traditional politicians; hindi po ito Cha-cha para sa mga ordinaryong Pilipino (A Cha-cha that does not involve the people is only a Cha-cha of Gloria, Cha-cha of traditional politicians; this is no longer Cha-cha for ordinary Filipinos),” he said.
Senators previously said that the proposed Charter change is “dead” in the Upper House, but Hilbay warned that the issue could be brought up to the Supreme Court.
“If the Senate refuses to participate in Arroyo’s Charter change, it might be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the House can propose changes to the Constitution on its own,” he later said in a separate statement.
“If the Supreme Court allows this, then it will put the country back in disarray with political dynasties lording over us,” the former solicitor general added.
Hilbay is considering the possibility that Arroyo will return to power because of Charter change.