Understanding Cha-Cha: The Definition and Various Issues Surrounding the Philippine Charter Change

August 22nd, 2009

Philippine Charter change MeaningThe Meaning and Basics Behind the Cha-Cha If you’ve ever heard someone speaking about the cha-cha, you might have assumed they were talking about the dance. However, in political terms, a cha-cha is actually a movement for charter change being addressed in the Philippines.

The Philippine Charter Change, or the cha-cha, is the changing of the current 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. There are three different ways the charter change can be revised. First, it can be amended with the people’s initiative which is, in a sense, a national petition. It can also be amended by the constitute assembly which is the assembly of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Finally, it can be amended by constitutional convention which is decided by Congress.

All three of these modes need to vote for change and then this vote has to be approved by the majority of Filipinos before it will be changed. The cha-cha has undergone several debates in the past years on whether or not people support the need for change and what it will do to the Philippines as a whole.

The Past and Present of the Philippine Charter Change In 1997, under the former President Fidel V Ramon, the first charter change was proposed which tried to change the parliamentary system. Those who opposed the charter change were mostly business and political tycoons and left wing organizations. Furthermore the people’s initiative, a petition, was refused by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Because of this, the charter change never made it to the final stages.

Charter Change Definition A second attempt at the charter change came in 2001 under President Joseph Estrada. It attempted to change the economic provisions of the constitution. Much like the previous cha-cha, the politicians and wealthy leaders opposed it and Estrada was accused of trying to personally benefit from these changes.

In 2004, under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the amendment to the charter change looked bright. Arroyo created an entire commission to come up with changes to the 1987 Constitution that fell into categories such as economic liberalization and local government empowerment. Big name corporations opposed it but many Filipinos supported it.

Currently people are still rallying for and against it with no necessary means being decided on. However, perhaps the future will bring the much anticipated dance of the cha-cha.

The Charter Change Issue: Pros and Cons There has been a varied reaction to the charter change in the past with several people supporting it and several people against it. The main advantage to rallying for the charter change is that the corrupt and useless officials will not be able to continue stealing money for their own wealth. However, while some may think these leaders are corrupt, others believe they are good leaders who should be able to continue their work and service.

Like in most political debates, it is a matter of opinion that may never come to an end.