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ConAss or AssCon?


On the 2nd night of June 2009, the Philippine House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 1109 after a louder “aye” was heard than the “nays”. This will convene the Congress into a Constituent Assembly or ConAss, that will amend the 1987 Constitution.

This night will also be remembered as the day when mass media coverage were not allowed to cover the debate (although later through the night, ABS-CBN’s ANC was able to provide live coverage). The blogging and micro-blogging aware Filipinos are the first and only ones who were able to follow from beginning to end.

Thanks to the concerned Filipino citizens who covered the event via Twitter and Plurk using the hashtag #conass. Sparks concentrated mainly on Twitter while Manuel L. Quezon III on Plurk.

In the blogging side, we have the Filipino Voices, written also by Sparks, and another blog I failed to bookmark.

Two “new social media” mediums used effectively by the Filipinos and brought the fastest and latest update the mass media can not bring. The sad thing, the rest of the Nation were not aware of the debate until they wake up later in the morning of June 3.


(Update) There was also a live audio stream via USTREAM, and Congressmen who microblogged via Facebook’s status update feature.

After the debate, which was already obvious that the conass supporters will win, HR 1109 passed. This immediately brought waves of disappointment and sadness to those who joined online. Some of the comments left were:

Personally, I share the opinions of the pro-Charter Change Filipinos in that this is NOT the time. If we want to start changing the Philippine Constitution, we should do it AFTER the Philippine 2010 Elections.

True, the major reason of most Filipinos is the fear of getting an extension for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, some are already saying – a permanent position. But there are other valid reasons like it will only divide this country, it will only get the attention of the people away from other pressing issues (like election cheating and election-related killings), and there is the possibility that it will introduce new waves of (mass) rallies – which may or may not affect our economy.

So what now? It now depends on each and every Filipino. There are those who are already calling for actions, like prayer rallies and even people power. For example, later today June 3rd, there will be a Mobilization against ConAss organized by the UP Law Student Government.

No to Conass!
Badge Source: Alleba Politics

There was also also a statement from Ateneo de Manila’s the assembly. There were also those who will visit the EDSA Shrine early today to conduct their prayers for the country, small but it clearly shows how this conass moved the Filipinos.

Of course there are those who will say to “wait-and-see”, for various reasons like the fact that this is only the first step. Or that it is better to learn and study the developments and take action once their weakest points are identified.

This debate completely changed the Philippines already, as many have said earlier, the 5th 7th Republic died at 11:40pm June 2, 2009, and soon we will see the birth of a new Republic. (However, this is only the first step, the road is being laid down, it still can be countered, let us not forget that.)

As for me, I support Charter Change but this is not the right time for it, and the mode chosen is, in my opinion, not the right one. I hope they are not going to take advantage of their constituents’ passiveness these days because many Filipinos are mainly concerned about what they are going to eat tomorrow.

Time for a more active information campaign. Give the Filipino people the knowledge they need so they can decide on their own if they will be in favour of the constitutional changes that will be presented later this year or next year.

We don’t need a Filipino voter who will just vote for the sake of voting. Enough of that! So ConAss or AssCon? My answer, it was an AssCon.

Finally, thank you to Sparks and Manuel L. Quezon III for the online coverage. God Bless the Philippines!!

I leave you with this clip from the film Judge Dredd – “I AM THE LAW” which is very fitting for the majority “YES” in the Lower House.


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