PM decries constitution amendment as ‘political hack’

In the aftermath of a global outage impacting Meta platforms, Filipinos have been vigilant about their online security.

Yet, according to Partido Manggagawa (PM), a more insidious breach has occurred, not in the digital world but within the walls of the Philippine legislature.

The party has likened the swift approval of Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 (RBH7) by the House of Representatives’ Committee of the Whole to a “political hack” — an act that has stirred significant controversy.

PM’s Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda expressed dismay over the House’s rush in approving RBH 7.

“It is equivalent to a political hack which is unthinkable for a huge political body known for being laggard and protracted in its lawmaking process, especially when it comes to important social development agenda.”

She referenced the contrastingly slow progress on critical issues such as the reproductive health bill, the divorce law proposal, and rights to safe and affordable abortion, which have historically taken years to pass.

Miranda further criticized the legislators’ pace by drawing a comparison to social media’s rapid updates.

“Kapag para sa kababaihan, history book ang trato sa amin ng mga mambabatas. Pero kapag charter change para sa dayuhan, para silang Facebook, Twitter, o Tiktok sa pabilisang gumalaw,” she commented, reflecting PM’s participation in protest actions in solidarity with International Women’s Day.

She also pointed to the stagnation in wage hike legislation, where the last significant change enacted by Congress dates back to 1989, highlighting a discrepancy in legislative priorities when compared to the urgency shown towards charter change proposals.

RBH 7, along with RBH 6 which is awaiting Senate deliberation, seeks to amend various economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution, affecting public services, education, advertising, and land ownership.

The amendments would be enacted through a three-quarters vote in both houses, introducing a clause “unless otherwise provided by law” to the specified constitutional articles and sections, potentially broadening Congressional power in these domains.

However, Miranda emphasized that altering the Constitution does not address the ingrained societal issues of poverty and gender discrimination.

“Changing those sections and articles of the Constitution won’t alter the age-old problems of poverty and discrimination confronting women today, which are more of an outcome of society’s capitalistic structure where social wealth is appropriated among the tiny few while governance is run under a dynastic political rule,” she argued.

The debate over RBH 7 highlights the tension between swift political action on certain issues while more socially pressing agendas wait on the legislative sidelines, showcasing the complex interplay between governance, societal values, and the pace of lawmaking in the Philippines.