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Filipino bishops open to talks on Charter change

Reforms necessary ’but not without the people’s approval’

Filipino bishops open to talks on Charter change
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo
Julian Labores, Manila

January 12, 2011

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The Aquino administration should make sure any proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution reflect the people’s will, the Philippines Catholic bishops said today. They say they encourage public discussions and information drives on the matter to ensure there are informed choices. "It’s high time and good to talk about it... what are its pros and cons," Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas. Excerpts of the interview were posted Wednesday morning on CBCP News site. Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. added information should reach the grassroots level to inform the people and enable them to make informed choices. “The public should also be informed well about this so that they will not be caught by surprise by the planned Charter change,” he said. Both bishops both acknowledged there is a need to change some provisions of the Constitution. “We are not against revising some provisions of the Constitution,” said Iñiguez, chairman of the CBCP Committee on Public Affairs. Lagdameo and Iñiguez underscored the importance of public information to stress the urgency of Charter reforms and get the participation of the people. “There should be a public discussion to know the sentiments of the people,” said Lagdameo. Earlier, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone pushed for the revival of Charter change discussions at the national level. He said President Benigno Aquino III’s declaration that he will not run for public office in 2016 provides the perfect opportunity to amend the Charter. But Malacañang insisted amending the Constitution is not a priority of the administration. Related reports Philippine bishop pushes for charter change Distrust sparks resistance to charter change Church leaders warn against pre-election charter change PR12825.1636
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