News you can use (Con Ass)

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Rain or shine, our protest against ConAss is on tomorrow!  Let's meet in front of Greenbelt 5, Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, between 4-4:30pm.  We march to Ayala Avenue at 4:45pm.  Please wear black and bring whistles, horns, clappers, pots and pans to make noise loud enough to rattle windows!

STOP Con Ass!  STOP Cha Cha!  TINDIGNATION! Now na!

CON-ASS CON
1.  There’s no stopping rallies vs Con-ass
By Christine Avendaño, Allison Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 01:35:00 06/09/2009
MANILA, Philippines—Rain or shine, multisectoral groups Monday said nothing would stop them from pushing through with Wednesday’s rallies in Makati, Iloilo and other cities against a House resolution calling for a constituent assembly (Con-ass) to amend the Constitution.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay said talk of rain and destabilization attempts would not discourage thousands who were expected to join the 5 p.m. rally on Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas to protest Charter change, which they claimed would allow President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to hold on to power.
2.  Series of protests to kick off June 10
By Jose Rodel Clapano, Philippine Star
Updated June 09, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Come monsoon rain or coup plots, the planned massive rally against the House’s move to convene a Senate-less constituent assembly will push through as scheduled tomorrow.
Makati City Mayor and United Opposition president Jejomar Binay made the announcement saying “coup plots and heavy rains” would not deter them from launching a series of protest actions against House Resolution 1109, allowing a con-ass without Senate participation.
As this developed, Malacañang called on the public to remain calm saying there’s no reason to panic.
“Lumang tugtugin na yan (It’s an old tune). Every time there is a major political crisis for the administration and every time a major rally is scheduled, these talk of coup plots and destabilization conveniently surface,” Binay said. The commercial and business district of Makati will be the center of protest actions.
“The people will not be cowed. They have seen through the selfish motive behind con-ass,” Binay said.
“Tuloy and protesta kontra con-ass, umula man o umaraw, kahit na may pakulo pa ang administration na coup plot kuno (The protest against con-ass will push through rain or shine and despite the coup plots being cooked up by the administration) ,” Binay said.
“We call on freedom-loving Filipinos to go out and protest on June 10. Let us not be fooled into complacency by this regime. The threat of Charter change and Arroyo staying in power is now more real than ever,” Dr. Carol Araullo, chair of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said.
“We will not let the regime exploit any untoward incident that may happen. It is all the more necessary now that we protest in order to derail the Cha-cha train,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said.
Migrante said many overseas Filipino workers are planning a “remittance holiday” to dramatize their protest.
While voicing opposition to Cha-cha through con-ass, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the clergies may not lead protest rallies in deference to the law on separation of church and state,
“We will remain apolitical or else would be placing the Catholic Church in a situation. It is not stated in the rules that we could meddle in political issues,” Lagdameo said.
‘Parliament of the streets’
Senators are calling for a “parliament of the streets” to thwart House efforts to change the Constitution through con-ass.
Senators Loren Legarda, Manuel Roxas II, Rodolfo Biazon, Alan Peter Cayetano and Ramon Revilla Jr. said they would not allow Cha-cha to be forced on them or on people and that necessary steps must be taken to prevent it. Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revisions of codes and laws, already joined an anti-Cha-cha rally in Manila yesterday as he said his committee vowed not to act on any House resolution on con-ass to be transmitted to the Senate.
Legarda said the insistence of Mrs. Arroyo’s allies to push Cha-cha is against the wishes of most Filipinos.
“In such a situation, the people will have no recourse but to convene the parliament of the streets to be able to voice their will,” she said.
“The government cannot suppress this right which is guaranteed by Section 4, Article III, of the Constitution,” she added.
“Efforts by the administration to suppress the right of the people to express their will through the parliament of the streets will be a crime against the people,” she stressed.
“We should not let this monster called constituent assembly suck the blood of our nation,” Roxas stressed.
“Let us make them feel our protest, show them that the people are aware and ready to fight Charter change now. And in the coming elections, let these pro-Cha-cha lawmakers feel our anger, our disgust, and dismay by voting them out of office,” Escudero told participants of a rally in Manila organized by Mayor Alfredo Lim.
“Their statement that they are willing to talk to senators and will sit and convince senators one by one must be taken seriously. This may be mind conditioning. Maybe they already have the support of some senators. Remember the majority in the Senate is supported by many in the opposition yet not a single investigation in the last three months. Only ethics and showbiz investigations,” Cayetano said.
“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure separation of power in branches of government. This administration is too scheming and so the people must be wiser,” Pangilinan said.
Don’t panic
Malacañang said there is no reason to panic over the lawmakers’ Cha-cha moves.
“I think the most important thing is that we appeal to our people that there is no reason for violent reaction or anything like that,” deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said.
She said those planning to join tomorrow’s rally should first examine the issue and determine the objectives of those pushing for con-ass.
“As far as the Palace is concerned our role is to ensure there will be a healthy discussion and that everyone would be fully informed and that everyone would be well-represented in this practice,” Fajardo said.
She also said the people should be more discerning and “find out the intention of the organizers of this kind of protest.”
Fajardo claimed the con-ass issue is being wrongly linked to the issue of term extension.
“We have been reiterating from the very beginning that there will be no extension of term and there will be an election in 2010 and that the President will step down by 2010,” she said.
“That is very clear and that should be understood by the people,” she said.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde meanwhile criticized the opposition for raising the specter of martial law in the run up to tomorrow’s rallies.
“This is part of the opposition’s black propaganda to demonize the administration,” he said.
“They are creating their own ghosts. I hope they will not go to the extent of sabotaging their own rallies so that it can again be blamed on the administration,” Remonde said.
Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner warned soldiers against joining tomorrow’s rally.
“Whether they are on leave or not, they still have to stick to certain rules and regulations and they still have to abide by their vow that they will continue to protect the Constitution (and) the people no matter what,” he said.
“If anyone is caught joining in this, this could be grounds for their separation from the service,” he said.
The Philippine National Police has dialogued with rally organizers to ensure against an outbreak of violence.
Consultations first
Speaker Prospero Nograles declared that the House of Representatives cannot yet convene into a constituent assembly despite the approval of HR 1109.
“I am not going to convene anything. We need the period for consultations with House and Senate leaders and other sectors to get a clear picture of what to do next,” the Speaker said in a statement.
“Frankly, we (administration coalition members) are still in a legal disagreement as to the procedures to follow after approval of HR 1109. I therefore need to clear the air as to the legal procedure,” Nograles clarified.
The Speaker said he will use the congressional recess to “exchange thoughts and reasons” with key leaders of the House and the Senate.
“We need to get a clear picture of what to do next,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Simeon Datumanong said the martial law scenario being raised by Cha-cha critics only aims to drag President Arroyo to the issue.
“In the eight years that the President has been leading our nation, she never considered it as an option in dealing with rallies and protests against the administration,” Datumanong said.
“The President knows that rallies and street protests are mere expression of people’s sentiment about a particular issue,” he said.
Baguio City Rep. Mauricio Domogan, for his part, said the martial law alarm intends to mislead the public.
“To critics, please don’t muddle the issue. There’s no compelling reason for the President to declare martial law,” he said.
La Union Rep. Victor Ortega, chair of the committee on constitutional amendments, told The STAR it was the lawmakers’ intention to weed the 1987 Constitution of errors that prompted them to approve the convening of con-ass.
“Some congressmen, led by Speaker Prospero Nograles, think of pursuing con-ass to correct the problem in the provision of the 1987 Constitution – if we can convene ourselves only without the Senate or we convene jointly and vote separately,” Ortega said.
“According to Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a constitutional expert and member of the Commission, they failed to adopt the bicameral system for the provision on Charter amendments although they voted to accept the bicameral system for the 1987 Constitution. So this makes the problem,” Ortega said referring to members of the Constitutional Commission formed at the start of the Aquino administration to propose amendments to the 1971 Constitution.
Ortega said the 1987 Constitution does not mention the phrase “jointly assemble and voting separately.” - With Aurea Calica, Delon Porcalla, Marvin Sy, Jun Elias, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sandy Araneta, Rainier Allan Ronda, Katherine Adraneda, Evelyn Macairan, James Mananghaya and Mayen Jaymalin
3.  Anti-Cha-cha forces to protest in streets, cyberspace
abs-cbnNEWS. com | 06/09/2009 1:39 AM
MANILA - It's still pouring. The opposition to the charter change initiative, that is.
Various anti-Cha-cha (charter change) groups said Monday they will express themselves through peaceful means--whether in the streets or in the airwaves--to keep the momentum of public resistance going.
Organizers of a planned street rally in the country's main financial district said the Wednesday gathering in the country's main financial district will push through--rain or shine.
4.  Cha-cha poses risks — Tetangco
BY PAOLO LUIS G. MONTECILLO, Business World
THE HOUSE of Representatives’ insistence on amending the 1987 Constitution could put more pressure on economic growth, the central bank chief said.
Investor risk appetite, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said, would be affected if changes in the country’s legal framework lead to economic policy shifts.
"The way the market will look at this is ... will [charter change] affect economic policies and therefore the performance of the economy," Mr. Tetangco told reporters.
"That is what [investors] will look at," he said, qualifying "This can be said about any event."
The central bank chief’s comments followed a similar warning by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph G. Recto, who last week said changing the constitution would likely disrupt economic activity.
Business groups, particularly the Makati Business Club and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have criticized what some have called an "ill-timed" House plan to rewrite the Constitution, given that the economy is "on the brink of recession" — as a government statistician put it last week.
Before going on a nearly two-month long break, allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hastily passed a resolution allowing Congress to convene as a constituent assembly, with the intention of amending the 1987 Constitution.
Charter change proponents insist the move is targetted at changing economic provisions such as limits to foreign ownership, but critics of the administration say the ultimate aim is lifting term limits and keeping Mrs. Arroyo in power beyond 2010.
The economy grew by just 0.4% in the first quarter of the year, much lower than the government’s 1.8-2.8% target for the period.
The disappointing result has prompted the country’s economic managers to consider revisions to this year’s macroeconomic targets.
The changes could be announced this Wednesday.
5.  Following Lozano, Nograles appeals to SC
BY WENDELL VIGILIA, Malaya
MASS actions against Charter change might force the Supreme Court to rule on how Congress can undertake constitutional amendments or revisions, Speaker Prospero Nograles said yesterday.
Nograles appealed to the High Court "to step in and give a clear interpretation of the gray areas in the Constitution particularly its provision on the modes of amending the Constitution."
"These anti-Cha-Cha protests will go on forever because even while we all agree that we need to amend the Constitution, partisan politics always gets in the way," he said.
6.  Palace allies seek talks with Church leaders
By Leila Salaverria, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:17:00 06/09/2009
MANILA, Philippines—Presiden t Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s allies are seeking a dialogue with religious leaders in a bid to defuse opposition to a move to amend the Constitution without the Senate’s participation.
“Talking to bishops and religious leaders is the best way to penetrate the masses and enlighten them on the real score,” Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino said as opposition groups mobilized to mount protests against Charter change (Cha-cha) beginning on Wednesday.