Amidst the urgency to address systemic landlessness and widespread poverty in the country, the Marcos ruling clique chose instead to renew and fund a public campaign that aims to amend the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’ (GRP) constitution. At its core, this push to change the constitution (often called Charter Change or ChaCha) aims to surrender economic sovereignty to foreign capital and perpetuate political dynasties in power.

On the other hand, Filipinos cry for higher wages, free distribution of land, price control of basic needs like rice, free health and education services, sufficient aid, affordable housing, and genuine freedom.

Recently, a signature campaign for a so-called “people’s initiative” or PI for ChaCha started circulating and was by no doubt financed by politicians using public funds. PI is defined by the GRP constitution as one among valid methods that can legally open the constitution for review. The other two methods are the Constitutional Convention and the Constituent Assembly.

PI was so scandalous as member of the House of Representatives (HOR) used their personnel and local patronage networks to campaign for signatures, that people derisively call the campaign a “politicians initiative.” HOR members plan to amend the conduct of the Constituent Assembly (convening the Senate and HOR jointly),  by stipulating that voting shall be done jointly, not separately, thus effectively controlling the voting process (24 senators versus 316 HOR members).

Though the campaign was so outrageous, initially the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) accepted the submitted signatures, but eventually stopped because of the overwhelming popular pressure and the basic legal infirmity of PI.

While Marcos Jr. feigns ignorance concerning the legislators’ push for ChaCha, it is under his behest that his minions in Congress are reviving  ChaCha. The elimination of the nationalist provisions of the GRP constitution supports the US imperialist’s desire to fully open the economy for plunder and deepen the puppet state’s neo-colonial dependence to it.

The intense in-fighting between HOR members and senators on ChaCha merely reflect the severe split in the ruling Marcos-Duterte coalition. Former President Duterte publicly denounced the politicians-initiated PI, called for the resignation of Marcos and the separation of Mindanao from the Philippines. The Duterte faction has agitated the military against Marcos. In fact, AFP Chief-of-Staff Brawner publicly warned about a brewing coup de Etat. Duterte’s insecurity of being arrested by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity triggered this trouble within the ruling coalition.

The Filipino people cannot be fooled by Marcos and his minions about Chacha. The real purpose of the ruling dynasties is to perpetuate themselves in power, to lift the term limits in office. 

There is a nationwide groundswell of popular opposition against Charter Change among the ranks of the toiling masses, students, professionals, church people and civil libertarians. In this context, it becomes imperative to commemorate the anniversary of the February 25 People’s Uprising by grasping the most important lesson of history that the people are decisive in the genuine transformation of society!