Robredo ‘not for or against’ federalism

MANILA Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday said she is not totally against constitutional change.

In a speech at the Pakasaritaan 2018 Conference in Baguio City, Robredo said she is not for or against constitutional change, but stressed that she is a proponent of healthy discourse about it.

"Hindi ako proponent ng 'for' or 'against', pero proponent ako na maging balanced ang discussions, proponent ako na maging balanced lahat(I am not a proponent of 'for' or 'against' but I am a proponent of having the discussions about it to be balanced), Robredo said.

Robredo emphasized that constitutional change is a serious matter which should not be based on emotions about the current situations in the country.

"Totoong may frustrations tayo, sino namang wala? Pero hindi tayo pwedeng magpapalit ng konstitusyon na iilan lang ang nag-uusap. Pagbobotohan ito ng taong bayan di ba in a plebiscite? So dapat naiintindihan ng mga tao ang pingabobotohan nila (It is true that we have frustrations, who doesn't have one? But we can't have constitutional change with only a few people talking about it. The public will have to vote in a plebiscite, right? So the public must understand what they would vote about), Robredo said.

Robredo said she is after the full understanding of all Filipinos about constitutional change that is why she opposed the supposed fast-tracking of the House of Representatives to create a body that would be converted into a constituent assembly.

Robredo pointed out that the current members of the consultative commission on charter change are advocates of constitutional change.

"Ang isang common sa kanila ay lahat sila advocates, para sa akin medyo mali yun. Kasi ang first question for them to ask themselves is, do they need a constitutional change, pero kung ang lahat ng members ay advocates ng constitutional change, na-set aside na ang question na yun that takes away the kind of healthy discourse (One thing common about them is they are all advocates, to me that is quite wrong. Because the first question for them to ask themselves is, do they need a constitutional change? But if all members are advocates of constitutional change, that question has been set aside already that takes away the kind of healthy discourse), Robredo said.

"Hindi ko ina-advocate buwagin ang consultative commission...but to expand the membershipit should include people who think otherwise para mabalanse ang usapan (I am not advocating the demolition of the consultative commission...but to expand the membership it should include people who think otherwise for the discussions to be balanced), Robredo added.

Meanwhile, Robredo opposed the move to set a deadline for the consultation when it has not even started yet.

"May deadline daw, dapat matapos bago mag-SONA para maisama na sa SONA ng president. Para sa akin napakahalaga ba ng change of form of government para bigyan mo ng deadline?...Kung hindi pa man nagsisimula ang consultation tapos may deadline na, ang chances, magiging haphazard ito tulad ng nangyari sa 1973 Constitution (It is said there is a deadline, it must be done before the schedule of SONA so the President can already include it in his SONA. To me, is constitutional change very important that it has to have a deadline? If the consultation started and yet it already has a deadline, chances are, it will be haphazard just like the 1973 Constitution), Robredo said.

Source: Philippine News Agency