Buenavista, Bohol Mayor Dave Duallo, who is also the president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Bohol chapter, said that charter change or the amendment of the 1987 Philippine Constitution might be one of the main topics in the upcoming LMP national assembly.
The LMP national assembly is an annual gathering of town mayors from all over the country, which will be held on February 27–29, 2024. The venue and accommodation details of the assembly have not been disclosed yet.
Duallo revealed this in a radio interview with Ardy Araneta-Batoy, the managing editor of Bohol Tribune, on January 10, 2024. He said that 43 out of the 47 LMP-Bohol members have confirmed their attendance to the assembly.
As a lawyer and a citizen, Duallo expressed his support for changing the economic and political provisions of the Constitution, which he said was a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Marcos dictatorship.
He argued that the current Constitution has failed to prevent the return of Marcos to power and has led to the deterioration of the political climate.
He said that the present system is personality-based, not party-based, and that there is no permanency of programs and policies.
Duallo suggested that shifting to a parliamentary system could be a better option, as it would allow the party, not the individual, to lead the country and make the programs permanent.
He also said that most mayors would welcome the extension of their term limits, which are currently restricted to three consecutive three-year terms. He cited the case of Dauis vice mayor Marietta Sumaylo, who had to run for a lower office after serving as mayor for nine years.
However, he acknowledged that changing the Constitution is a “long shot” and a “bloody” process, as he anticipated resistance from various sectors of society who may oppose any charter change.
He also commented on the reports that some people were allegedly bribed with P100 to sign a petition in favor of charter change.
The LMP Bohol president said that this was a serious allegation that should be investigated by the authorities.
He said opposition lawmakers Edcel Lagman had accused some public officials of orchestrating this scheme on January 8, 2024.
Lagman alleged that Legazpi City Mayor Alfredo Garbin and Ako Bicol party-list lawmaker Jill Bongalon were present during a January 5, 2024, meeting with municipal mayors at the Ellis Hotel in Legazpi City, where Ako Bicol party-list coordinators allegedly received an unspecified amount of money to ensure there were enough signatures for a people’s initiative to gain ground in amending the Constitution.
Lagman claimed that this was a violation of the law and the Constitution, and that the people should not be deceived by such tactics.
He urged the Commission on Elections and the Department of Justice to look into the matter and hold the perpetrators accountable.