Prelate: Con-con ‘more acceptable’ method of Cha-cha

MANILA -- Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said Constitutional Convention (con-con) is a more acceptable method of Charter change over constituent assembly (con-ass).

Based on Pastoral Moral Guidelines for Catholic Faithful issued for the faithful in the said archdiocese, Villegas said that they would like the citizens to decide on the case if the plan to change the Constitution pushes through.

It is our moral position that if the outcome is to be a credible draft of a new constitution, then the authors who draft the future fundamental charter of the land must be known for their probity and their intellectual acumen. They must be free of vested interests that may render suspect their handiwork as a document that embodies their own interests rather than those of the people, he said.

It is for this reason that it would be preferable to have a Constitutional Convention, not necessarily of elected delegates but of citizens with sufficient civic spiritedness, familiarity with the law and with the constitution, committed to human rights, and to the defense of civil and political rights, who have the fear of God in their hearts, that should craft the revised Constitution, Villegas furthered.

The former head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines urged the faithful to do their share by being vigilant.

"People should also raise critical questions, particularly when opportunities present themselves such as at barangay or citizen's assemblies, particularly called for the purpose of disseminating through state-sponsored or other means the proposition of going federal," he said.

"The tried and tested integrity and heroic selflessness of the governed and officials in government is the secret to the progress of the nation. The government is only as good as the people who lead it and the citizens, who vigilantly participate in restoring and maintaining the social order," Villegas added.

At the same time, the prelate slammed the plan to amend the Constitution supposedly for incumbent officials to extend their respective terms of office.

"We, your pastors in Lingayen-Dagupan, are not unaware that reconfiguring the government may be used by the unprincipled as a pretext for the extension of their terms of office. There are many who even declare that term extensions are inevitable and necessary," said Villegas.

"We find this opportunist and downright morally objectionable," he aded.

Source: Philippine News Agency