Sydney, 28 July 2009
Filipinos, Filipino-Australians and their supporters
protested against President Arroyo’s scheme to constitutional vandalism
On 27 July 2009, Filipino-Australians and their supporters protest against
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s plan to prolong her grip on power
through a flawed process of constitutional change (Cha-cha) at the
Philippine Consulate, Sydney.
On July 27, on the day the Philippine president Arroyo delivered her State
of the Nation Address [SONA] members of Lingap Migrante called on GMA to
stop her plan to change the Philippine Constitution or do a “cha-cha”
(Charter Change) by making the Philippine Congress as a Con-ass
(Constituent Assembly) that will do the cha-cha.
In the Philippines and world-wide there is rising opposition to President
Arroyo’s schemes because –
1. Her motivation is to
prolong her grip on power by overcoming the current constitutional limit
on Presidential terms;
2. This will allow her to
maintain her executive power and her immunity from facing graft and
3. This will give way to her
wishes of allowing foreign ownership of land and public services
prohibited under the current constitution.
4. This will also allow the
return of foreign military bases, in particular the US
5. The use of Congress as a
Constituent Assembly is of dubious constitutionality and less democratic
than the elected Constitutional Congress in the present Constitution.
On July 27, many Filipinos in Australia and around the world did not send
money back to their families in the Philippines to show their opposition
to GMA’s SONA, Cha-cha and Con-ass. Remittances from overseas Filipinos
total billions each year, and the Philippine economy is dependant on these
payments. By withholding remittances for one day overseas Filipinos will
signal their protest against the government of Arroyo in stark terms.
Arroyo’s undemocratic machinations are discouraging those Filipinos in
Australia who have the right to vote in the Philippines elections in May
next year. This is a worldwide trend, with people hesitating to register
for the vote. Dismal registration has prompted Congressman Satur Ocampo [Bayan
Muna party] to file House Resolution 1249 to extend OAV [Overseas Absentee
Voting] registration from August 31 to December 31.
The spate of human rights abuses under Arroyo also serves as a major
obstacle to registrations and participation in the electoral process.
Extrajudicial killings are the most blatant of these abuses. A recent
example is the case of Nelson Malit, 48, an Anakpawis Party coordinator of
Floridablanca town in the central part of Luzon island and a part-time
staff of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson [or ‘Alliance of Farmers
in Central Luzon] (AMGL), was shot and killed on December 28, 2008 at
around 10 p.m. four houses away from his home in Barangay Del Carmen.
A motorcycle-riding, bonnet-wearing team of two assassins shot the victim
with a .45-caliber pistol while he was playing cards with two other
friends in front of the house of neighbour Juanita Labonera. Witnesses
said the assassin entered Labonera’s steel gate as the motorcycle driver
waited outside. The gunman fired on Malit at least six times and once on
Labonera’s front wall to drive away witnesses. This method has been the
standard procedure of assassins linked to the Armed Forces of the
Philippines counter-insurgency policy according to investigators from
human rights advocacy groups.
Oust the US-GMA regime!
Long live the Filipino people!
Reference: Migrante-Australia (national alliance of Filipino ang
Contacts: George Kotsakis and Edwin Subijano