Critical questions for Cha-cha proponents | Inquirer Opinion
Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Critical questions for Cha-cha proponents

The first day of April saw an “onslaught” of verbal tirades against the results of the survey conducted by Pulse Asia on whether majority of Filipinos are in favor of Charter change (Cha-cha) at this time.

Members of the House of Representatives, especially the loudest pro-Cha-cha ones, need to know about the history of Pulse Asia and this survey. Questions related to amending provisions in the 1987 Constitution have been run for the last 20 years, according to professor Ronald Homes, Pulse Asia president. He explained this in an interview after some of the loudest Cha-cha proponents in the House expressed doubts, even questions on the survey’s methodology. They even claimed that some of the questions in Pulse Asia’s latest survey were “biased and leading.”

The latest opinion poll on whether Filipinos favor amending the Charter showed that 74 percent are opposed to it at this time. This result riled up the pro-Cha-cha members at the House who hurled their strong opinions against it. Some cited another survey that contrasted with the Pulse Asia survey results.


Tangere, a marketing research firm established in 2018, released a similar survey showing that 14 percent “strongly agree” and 38 percent “somewhat agree” with constitutional amendments. Their survey was done through random selections of those who have mobile phones. But take note that the greater percentage just expressed “somewhat agree”—not a very convincing stand on agreement, which is usually typical of many people who are unsure of their answers, and could be attributed to their lack of knowledge on the issue.


On the other hand, Pulse Asia has been at the forefront of innumerable opinion surveys since its establishment in 1999, through the initiative of professor emeritus Felipe Miranda of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman. Their surveys have stood the test of credibility and substantive content, including timeliness and relevance.

In June 2018, Pulse Asia ran a survey on whether Filipinos favor Cha-cha when then president Rodrigo Duterte was strongly pushing to change our system of government from unitary to federal. According to the position paper by professors of UP’s Department of Political Science, the 2018 survey showed that 67 percent were against changing the Charter at the time the survey was conducted. Of this total percentage, 37 percent were against Cha-cha “now and in the future” and 30 percent were against it “now but maybe open to it sometime in the future.” Additionally, only 18 percent favored Cha-cha “now” while the remaining 14 percent were undecided.

In that same survey, only 74 percent claimed to have very little to no knowledge at all of the Constitution, and 69 percent said they have very little knowledge of what a federal system of government is.

Another Pulse Asia survey in September 2022 also showed that Cha-cha was not an urgent concern, belying claims that there was a “huge public clamor” to amend the Constitution to address “present-day realities.” In that survey, respondents did not include Cha-cha as one of the country’s urgent national concerns. The top issues and concerns mentioned had to do with how the government controls inflation, creating more jobs (especially good-paying and stable ones), and, more importantly, fighting graft and corruption in government.

Based on these and other survey results, UP Diliman political science professors argued that “any attempt to amend the Constitution or change the Charter requires prior consultative and deliberative processes involving a genuinely informed citizenry. The claim that there is public clamor for constitutional change remains unsubstantiated.”

Perhaps our honorable representatives need to answer some critical questions: Will changing the Constitution’s economic provisions especially on the restrictions of foreign investments really lead to a major change in the quality of life of more than 22 million Filipinos out of more than 100 million people? Have foreign investments in the Philippines been impeded because of these economic provisions? If there are restrictions on foreign investments to make our economy grow, why is President Marcos justifying his 22 foreign travels (so far) to entice foreigners to put their investments here? Is he not promoting a violation of these restrictions? Who will really benefit if all our resources are gobbled up as raw materials for foreign companies to invest in?



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