Debate on Federal Philippines

In response to the call of our bishops “to form or reactivate circles of discernment and use your freedom as God’s children to discern, participate, discuss, and debate,” the lay faithful are encouraged to actively participate in activities of this form.  You are invited to Debate on Federal Philippines, on 9th March, 2018, to be held at the Ateneo Professional Schools Auditorium, Rockwell Center, Makati City.

In the Lay Leaders’ Caucus of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas held on February 10, 2018, we were challenged to face our accountability for the erosion of human rights and weakening of our democratic institutions. Thus, this is the time for us to heed the call of our bishops at the end of their plenary assembly on January 29, 2018 to:

“Have an informed conscience and decide in the light of Gospel values. Do what is necessary. Persuade our legislators to do only what is genuinely for the good of all on this issue of Charter change.”

The event is open to the public but SEATS ARE LIMITED. To confirm your attendance, please contact Jayvy R. Gamboa, through email at or call at (02) 426-6001 loc. 4627.

What is Good About the 1987 Constitution?

  Published February 12, 2018 by JJCICSI

Even before coming to power, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had been casting federalism as “our last hope” to set right the excesses of a central government controlled by “Imperial Manila,” the inequitable distribution of public resources, the uneven economic development among regions, and the massive poverty that has bred unrest and rebellion in Mindanao.

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Dasal at Ayuno laban sa Cha Cha, para sa Demokrasya

Fasting, Prayer, and Atonement at the People Power Monument

Today our democratic institutions are being taken apart piece by piece. Democratic principles and values are under vigorous attack from those sworn to uphold them. Yet if public opinion surveys are reliable, most of our people seem to view the dismantling of our democracy with disturbing equanimity, little realizing what they stand to lose. This dangerous crisis proves how fragile were the gains of EDSA 1986.

In acknowledgment of this crisis and in atonement for our collective culpability for it, organizations of the peasantry, the urban poor, the Roman Catholic Church, and other sectors have declared a nine-day period of prayer and fasting at the People Power Monument (PPM) from February 17 to 25. Dasal at Ayuno Laban sa Cha-Cha, Para sa Demokrasya: Pag-amin, Pagtitika, Pagababago at Pagkakaisa (Fasting and Prayer against Cha-Cha, for Democracy: Admission, Repentance, Transformation and Solidarity) is initiated by thePambansang Kilusan ng Mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), a national confederation of small farmer, fishers, indigenous peoples, rural women and youth organizations; the Urban Poor Alliance Action Committee (UPAC), an alliance of informal settler organizations in Metro Manila; and GOMBURZA, a group of clergy, religious, and laity committed to the Roman Catholic Church’s social teaching.

Dasal-Ayuno focuses on the endangered 1987 Constitution, one of EDSA 1986’s most precious legacies. Following the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the 1987 Constitution was drafted by a Constitutional Commission representing the broadest coalition of basic sectors and political forces that ever worked together on a nation-building project in this country. It is exemplary in the world for its commitment to social justice and human rights.

“The current administration seeks to cast aside this legacy, proposing to replace it with a federalist project short on social justice principles and long on authoritarian possibilities lurking beneath its extravagant promises”, Fr Robert Reyes, the leader of Gomburza and among those who committed to do a full fasting, taking in only water for the entire nine days.

“Malaking panganib sa aming mga magsasaka, mga manginigisda, mga katutubo, mga manggagawa, kababaihan at kabataan ang proyektong ito ng ating pamahalaang baguhin ang Saligang Batas. Nakalagay sa panukalang batas sa Mababang Kapulungan, ang Resolution of Both Houses No. 8, na bibigyan na ang mga dayuhan ng karapatang mag kontrol ng mga kalupaang agrikultural higit sa isang libong ektarya at higit sa 50 taon. Samantalang milyun milyong mga magsasaka pa rin natin ang walang sariling lupa., Hindi naipatupad nang seryoso ng lahat ng mga administrasyong nagdaan ang nakasulat sa Saligang Batas patungkol sa Katarungang Panlipunan, kaya hanggang ngayon laganap pa rin ang kahirapan sa ating bayan. Hinihiling naming ipatupad nang lubusan, hindi palitan ang Saligang Batas!” said Ka Rene Cerilla on behalf of Minyong Agsaluna, President of PAKISAMA, who is also joining Fr. Robert in a full nine-day fast.

“Kasama po ang mga iba’t ibang samahan naming mga maralitang taga-lungsod sa adhikain ng gawaing ito na makatulong na pagkaisahin ang iba’t ibang grupo, at institusyon na labanan ang mapanganib na Cha Cha,” said Ka Jose Morales, leader of UPAC, whose 200 urban poor members will be joining in a day of prayer and fasting on February 21 with Bishop Yniguez leading the mass.

Each day of the nine-day period will celebrate one of nine themes drawn from the 1987 Constitution: human rights (Feb 17), the protection of the environment and indigenous peoples (Feb 18), agrarian and fisheries reform (Feb 19), labor reforms (Feb 20), urban poor reforms (Feb 21), the participation of the youth in nation-building (Feb 22), gender equality (Feb 23), sovereignty (Feb 24), and democratic institutions (Feb 25). Various civil society organizations, religious congregations, Catholic Schools, and dioceses have been invited and started to join and sponsor a day committing to pray and fast mobilizing their respective constituencies. IDEFEND, for example, the broadest coalition of human rights organizations in the country will lead at 3-5PM on February 17 the participating schools and congregations and parishes in the discussion on human rights provisions in the 1987 Constitution and to express its defiance against the Cha Cha project. They will then join the mass at 6 pm. All participants in the event will only be served water.

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Unity Statement of the No to Cha-cha Coalition*


(L-R) Former Representative Neri Colmenares, Satur Ocampo, Lorenzo Tanada III, Sr. Mary John Manazan, Christian Monsod, Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, jr., and Bishop Deogracias Yniguez join forces with other personalities at the launching of the No to Cha-Cha Coalition at an Anti-Cha-Cha Assembly at the Malcolm Hall of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

Uphold democracy, sovereignty, social justice and human rights!
No to Charter change!


WE, individuals, groups and institutions of freedom-loving Filipinos;

RECOGNIZING that the Constitution, while not perfect nor unchangeable, is the result of our people’s historic struggle against dictatorship and for freedom, democracy, social justice and human rights;

ALARMED that the current efforts to revise the Constitution are inimical to our cherished freedoms and aspirations, among them proposed amendments that:

  • are patently self-serving for incumbent officials, such as postponing the 2019 elections, extending their terms of office, and enshrining the discredited pork barrel system in the Constitution itself;
  • break up the country into regional states that will add a new layer of bureaucracy, red tape and political largesse while expanding the powers of entrenched political dynasties and warlords;
  • establish a dictatorship, with immense powers given to the President during the transition period;
  • delete or water down progressive and protectionist provisions on the national economy and patrimony, including limits on foreign ownership of land, public utilities, media and educational institutions, and preference for Filipino enterprises and professionals;
  • delete or water down provisions on social justice and human rights, particularly the right to security of tenure and a living wage, agrarian reform, and urban land reform and housing;
  • limit the exercise of the people’s sovereign will to suffrage, and the freedom of the press, free expression, assembly and redress of grievance to its “responsible” exercise;
  • delete or water down provisions prohibiting foreign bases, troops, facilities as well as nuclear weapons;

AFFIRMING that the legitimate issue of the uneven distribution of wealth and power between the national and local governments can be effectively addressed without resorting to Charter change;

OUTRAGED that Congress has opted for a constituent assembly that leaves out citizens in the crafting of a new charter on which rests the essential aspects of Philippine democracy;

AWARE that in the past, such self-serving, undemocratic and unpatriotic plots at Charter change were defeated by widespread public outcry manifested in sustained protests and timely legal actions;

HEREBY RESOLVE to oppose – utilizing all democratic means possible – the current efforts to amend or revise the Constitution;

WE LIKEWISE RESOLVE to form ourselves into a Coalition with a nationwide constituency in order to consolidate and intensify our efforts to oppose Charter change at this time;

FINALLY, WE CALL ON OUR PEOPLE to remain vigilant and be involved, to participate in various activities including mass actions against Cha-cha and dictatorship, and stand for  democracy, sovereignty, social justice and human rights.#

*Adopted during the Anti-Cha-cha Assembly and launching of the Coalition on February 13, 2018 at the UP College of Law, Diliman, Quezon City.

Are We Ready for Chacha?

Ateneo Alumni Conversations on the National Situation:

Organized by: Ignatian Renewal Network (IRN),
spearheaded by the Ateneo Alumni Association (AAA), Office of Alumni Relations (OAR),
and Companions in the Ignatian Journey
together with the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI)
February 24, 2018 (Saturday) 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Faber Hall Function Room (FH 101), Loyola Schools
Ateneo de Manila University

12:00 – 1:00 PM Assembly and Registration
Kapihan at kwentuhan
1:00 – 1:30 PM Prayer
National Anthem
Welcome RemarksFr. Bill Kreutz, S.J.
Chaplain, Companions in the Ignatian JourneyForum Overview Melissa S. Reyes
President, Ateneo Alumni Association
1:30 – 2:00 PM National Situationer

Eleanor R. Dionisio
Associate Director, John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues

2:00 – 2:15 PM Open Forum
2:15 – 3:15 PM


Presentations on the Proposed Charter Change and Federalism

(1)  Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza
Economist and Dean, Ateneo School of Government

(2)  Atty. Florin T. Hilbay
Associate Professor of Law, University of the Philippines

3:15 – 3:30 PM Open Forum
3:30 – 3:45 PM Break
3:45 – 4:15 PM Reflections on the Church Teachings as Guide for Action

Fr. Manuel V. Francisco, S.J., S.T.D.
Professor, Loyola School of Theology
Chairman, Tanging Yaman Foundation, Inc.

4:15 – 4:45 PM Small Group Reflection / Discussion
4:45 – 5:00 PM Plenary Discussion
Synthesis and Closing RemarksPatria Gwen M.L. Borcena, M.A.
Sociologist and Lead Co-Convenor, Companions in the Ignatian Journey
5:00 – 6:00 PM Eucharistic Celebration

Fr. Norberto Ma. Bautista, S.J.
Director, Office of Alumni Relations and University Chaplain, ADMU


Sickness and Health: Ethical and Spiritual Reflections

The UP College of Medicine invites MDs, other healthcare professionals, medical/paramedical students, and patients and families of all faiths, to

Ethical and Spiritual Reflections
(A Lenten Recollection Webinar Series)
by Fr. Gregory Ramon D. GASTON
Rector, Pontificio Collegio Filippino, Rome

Doctorate in Sacred Theology, Bioethicist

Moderator, Dr Jose Paciano Baltazar Reyes, UP-PGH, TMC, MDH

* MARCH 2 Jesus Christ, the Divine Healer, Comes to Us: Personal Healing

REACTOR: Dr. Rosanna de Guzman, UP PGH


* MARCH 9 Sharing Christ with Others: Compassionate Caring for Our Patients and Healthcare Team

REACTOR: Dr. Guia Tan, TMC, SLMC Global, Mega Clinic


* MARCH 16 Finding Meaning in Sickness and Suffering: Participating in Christ’s Passion and Resurrection

REACTOR: Dr. Lenora Canizares-Fernandez, UP-PGH, AHMC


* MARCH 23 Seven Last Words: Comforting the Dying

REACTOR: Sr. Yel Adre, MD, Canossa Spiritual and Health Center


You may join using your digital device or group viewing. You can also watch thru FB live/up med webinars or

10 PMA CME/2 PRC CPD(MD) units per webinar

Registration is FREE.

For inquiries:

Check out video invitation from

His Eminence, Luis Antonio Card. Tagle:

Walk for Life 2018: A Choice to Uphold Human Life and Human Dignity

Photo credit: Laiko


The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. …the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. (St. John Paul II, On the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful [Christifideles Laici. . .], no. 38)
On February 24, 2018 the Christian faithful will hold another Walk for Life- in an act of solidarity- to uphold the dignity of life. We stand by the universal truth that human life is the apex of God’s creation thus the need to uphold, protect and defend it at all cost. We must discern and expose deceptive ideologies and actions that seek to destroy life.
Recent local and global developments have prompted this urgent call to action. We strongly condemn any and all policies and programs that waste human lives:
• the persecution of people all over the world in the name of religion and religious rights;
• the proliferation of substance abuse that lead to addiction;
• the unabated loss of human lives in the anti-drug war- alleged to have reached 12,000 between June 2016 and September 2017; we join national and international human rights organizations in calling for a thorough investigation of the extra judicial killings and deaths under investigation;
• the proposed re-imposition of the Death Penalty that should not have a place in a democratic society;
• abortion in all its forms, including the use of artificial contraceptives that have abortifacient effects;
• the systematic pillage of our natural resources through mining and development projects that destroy our oceans, rivers, land, forests and other sources of life;
• the imposition of taxes in the name of development but at the expense of the poorest of the poor;
• the use of our people for experimentation of treatments (like dengvaxia) that have not passed thorough studies of their adverse effects;
• the poor implementation of genuine land reform;
• the abuse of labor through contractualization, and inhuman working conditions and wages;
• the weak policies against trafficking of persons; and
• the meager provision for shelter for the homeless and the urban poor.
We cannot accept being governed by laws and policies that deceive and were crafted based on manipulated facts. We cannot agree with the premise that solutions to our social problems require that some of us should die.
This walk is for the life of every person who has been a victim of this culture of death. As Christians we stand together because we have the responsibility to care for our fellow human beings and to ensure that common good and justice must prevail.
We walk not only to condemn the wrong that is being done; but also to pray that the hearts of those who pursue such wrongs may be touched and softened by our collective action.
We walk to uphold truth and righteousness and to proclaim that upholding the primacy of human life is a choice we must all make.
With these, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity through its lay arm, the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas wants to have a yearly “grand procession” a “Walk for Life” to institutionalize the expression of our choice.
We encourage everyone to join the simultaneous nationwide Walk for Life at 4:00 in the morning to 8:00 A.M. on February 24, at the following Venues:
Venue: Quirino Grandstand Parade Ground, Rizal Park, Manila
Venue: From Fuente Osmeña Circle to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Cebu City
Venue: Gaston Park, Cagayan de Oro City
Venue: Tarlac City Plazuela
Venue: From San Pablo City Cathedral to Dagatan Boulevard, Sampaloc Lake, San Pablo City, Laguna
Bring your own placards with slogans, white and yellow flaglets & ribbons, tarpaulin banners, if you must. Bring the whole family and walk for the protection of life and the next generation.

Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity ​​          LAIKO Presiden

Congress, not Constitution, is the problem – Monsod

Business World photo

‘The problem is not the Constitution but the legislators who slept on the job for 30 years to fully implement it,’ says Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution

Camille Elemia @CamilleElemia | Rappler
Published 5:25 PM, February 01, 2018
Updated 7:25 PM, February 01, 2018

FEDERALISM. Christian Monsod, a framer of the 1987 Constitution, questions the motives behind the push for federalism. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The problem is not the 1987 Constitution but the legislators tasked to implement it, said Christian Monsod, one of the Constitution’s framers.

Monsod, also a former chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), was among the resource speakers at the Senate hearing on Charter Change on Thursday, February 1.

Monsod said the Constitution was created primarily to ensure that the horrors of the past, especially the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, would never happen again.

“If there is anger, it was not when we were writing the Constitution. The anger is today, when we see the promise of a new social order is not being kept and there are people even blaming the Constitution which has all the provisions to fulfill that vision,” Monsod said during the hearing.

“The problem is not the Constitution but the legislators who slept on the job for 30 years to fully implement it. Or when reform legislation was passed, [they] made sure it was watered down and underfunded. This is a legislature that wants to rewrite the Constitution,” he added.

Monsod said that instead of shifting to federalism, the government should prioritize fiscal decentralization and a strong anti-dynasty law. (READ: New constitution must directly ban political dynasties – former SC justice)

He also questioned the motives behind the push for Charter Change and federalism, saying that the central idea is about power.

“The President said the purpose of Cha-Cha is to improve quality of life of all Filipinos. That was also the articulated purpose of 6 previous attempts at Cha-Cha. All of them failed. They were all perceived as driven by self-interest. In short, they were all about power,” Monsod said. (LOOK BACK: Past Charter Change attempts and why they failed)

He also slammed PDP-Laban for seeking a federal parliament form of government, which he said would not directly address the core issues of the Philippines. He also recalled that the party was among those fighting for democracy under Martial Law. (READ: PDP-Laban 2019 bets must be pro-federalism – Pimentel)

“The PDP-Laban Institute version is so disappointing to us, because PDP-Laban was very much a part of EDSA [People Power Revolution]. Why is it pushing for federal parliamentary which it admits does not directly, but only indirectly, address the twin problems of mass poverty and gross inequalities?” Monsod said.

He added that the PDP-Laban version seeks to put social justice – the core of the 1987 Constitution – in the backseat, and instead prioritize economic growth, globalization, and free trade.

Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, executive director of the PDP-Laban Institute, countered the claims and said there is nothing to worry about concerning the ruling party’s version.

It remains uncertain, however, if PDP-Laban’s version would be adopted by both chambers of Congress, as the Senate and the House of Representatives could file their own versions. In the House, there are already varying proposals.

Malaya also accused critics of sowing fear so the public would reject federalism.

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