MORE than half of Filipinos are against any move to amend the 1987 Constitution, according to the latest survey of Pulse Asia that also showed 70 percent of the people are opposed to limiting the powers of the judiciary.
Despite this contrary opinion, Malacañang on Thursday said it found the survey results “unsurprising.”
“We welcome that calmly and without surprise,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
The latest survey found that 62 percent of Filipinos, or more than 6 out of 10, believe there is no need to amend the Charter at this time, 32 percent are opposed to Charter change at any other time and 30 percent are open to the idea “sometime in the future.”
It also showed that big majorities of Filipinos reject tinkering with the powers of the judiciary and opening up land and business ownerships to foreigners.
About 70 percent are not in favor of limiting the powers of the Supreme Court to review decisions of the executive branch while 85 percent oppose foreign ownership of residential and industrial lands in the country.
Based on the survey that was conducted from September 8 to 15, or
weeks after President Benigno Aquino 3rd admitted in an interview that he was amenable to Charter change or Cha-cha, opposition to the proposal was more evident in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon than in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Despite the survey results, Coloma said the President will continue to get the pulse of the people.
“What is important for the administration is the continued monitoring of the people’s sentiments, that’s why we are not surprised or anxious over these feedbacks. It is considered our responsibility to monitor and to acknowledge all these kinds of feedback from the people and it doesn’t help if we have a preconceived notion that when something is not met, we will be surprised,” he told reporters in a news briefing.
“Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. Therefore, we take the position that the voice of the people ought to be heard, the voice of the people ought to be listened to as a basis for decision-making,” Coloma said.
“The objective of the President is to know at all times what the sentiments of the people are so he can truthfully respond, especially in the aspect of further improving his administration or good governance and in implementing reforms,” the Palace official added.
Also on Thursday, Senate President Franklin Drilon declared in a gathering with lawyers that he will continue to espouse “economic” changes in the Constitution.
Meanwhile, militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the Pulse Asia survey indicated that the clamor to extend Aquino’s term “only exists in Aquino’s imagination and perhaps during meetings with his Cabinet.”
“The recent Pulse Asia survey shows that the public resoundingly rejects Charter change, both the self-serving political agenda, and the foreign-dictated economic agenda. The question now is ‘Will Aquino heed the writing on the wall or will he continue down this destructive path of trying to keep himself in power?’” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.
“Let us end Aquino’s Cha-cha delusions and focus on the more important issues of corruption and accountability,” he added.
The Bayan leader said the ploy of using Cha-cha to cover up government scandals “is obviously not working.”
“The ‘second term’ agenda is being used to proclaim the non-existent achievements of the Aquino government and cover up the corruption scandals involving Aquino and his officials.
Meanwhile, Charter change on economic provisions has long been pushed by foreign big business interests in the hopes of plundering the country’s national economy and patrimony. The worsening economic crisis has made Filipinos reject greater foreign control over our economy,” Reyes noted.