At Large

‘Shook’d’ on Charter change

Talk of looming Charter change, where the most distinguishing feature is the proposed shift to a federal system of governance, should be on the minds of most Filipinos of voting age. This, even as many would prefer to turn their attention elsewhere, mostly because the information one gets from proponents and objectors are sketchy and rife with suspicious elements.

But, as the Jesuit community in the Philippines in a recent statement pointed out, the stakes are too high to take the proposed changes for granted. We all must, as the good fathers point out, see to it that each of us is “well informed of the intricacies and complexities of this issue.”


Philippine bishops, in a recent pastoral statement, in fact urged the faithful to “form or reactivate circles of discernment and use your freedom as God’s children to discern, participate, discuss and debate.” Church authorities likewise remind Catholics of the need 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.”


Media reports on the CBCP statement mostly led with the bishops’ call for a “day of prayer and penance” for all the victims of violence in our country today, especially those part of the “kill list” in the crackdown against drug addicts and pushers, as well as “tambays” or loiterers, and most especially for the alarmingly growing number of murdered clerics.

But the same statement had more than just passive prayer at its heart. The church leaders called on the faithful “to remain steadfast in our common vocation and mission to actively work for peace … in these times of darkness when there’s so much hatred and violence, when murder has become an almost daily occurrence, when people have gotten so used to exchanging insults and hurting words in the social media.”

While Catholic social teachings do not favor a particular political system over another, the Jesuits pointed out in their statement that such teachings have shown a preference for democracy, “as this allows for the establishment and protection of freedom and human dignity, which are values the Church espouses.”

But they echo the bishops’ call that if Charter change were to happen, “the whole process must be aboveboard and must involve the active participation of the people.” Likewise, they said, worth a second, third or more look is the issue of federalism and whether this will, in fact, support people’s aspirations for a more equitable society, instead of institutionalizing political dynasties and their dominance of local economies and power.

To use current language, we have been “shook’d.” No longer can we hide behind indifference, nonchalance or fear. Our spiritual leaders have told us to wake up, think deeply, share our views and seek consensus with our friends and neighbors. We’re asked to give deep thought about our future, especially in the light of current moves and what these could mean not just for ourselves, but for our children and their children.

If you’re free next weekend, on Saturday, July 28, you might want to plan a visit to Intramuros and the Bay Leaf Hotel.

On that evening, starting at 6 p.m., young violin virtuoso Chino Gutierrez, accompanied on the piano by Mary Anne Espina, will hold a “musical soiree” called “Sentimientos 2.” The performance will feature a wide range of pieces evoking emotions ranging from nostalgia, romance and melancholia to lighthearted airs and “downright wild and exuberant gypsy music.” In response to faithful fans, Chino will also be performing a few well-loved Filipino pieces that proved so popular during his original “Sentimientos” performance.


Over the past year, Chino has been studying at the renowned Mozarteum Music Academy in Salzburg under the tutelage of noted French professor Pierre Amoyal. “Sentimientos 2” is also meant to raise funds for Chino’s participation in the coming Mozarteum Summer Festival.

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TAGS: Catholic, charter change, Constitution, federalism, Religion
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