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ATM Statement | March 11, 2024

House Speaker Martin Romualdez was depicted today as a greedy giant octopus with tentacles that strangle the ordinary Filipino as environmental activists and civil society leaders exposed today his mining interests and criticized him for pushing for charter change.

During a press conference launching Alyansa Tigil Mina’s Anti-Mining Solidarity Week, ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera shared ATM’s study that found Speaker Martin Romualdez as having links with mining companies, namely Benguet Corporation (BC) and Marcventures Holdings Inc. (MHI).

“The Romualdez family are very cunning in hiding their ownership of the mining companies. But although the paper trail finds that no Romualdez is named as beneficial owner, the study reveals that the Romualdez family has a considerable level of control in the mining firms,” Garganera said.

According to the study, this level of control is evidenced by: 1) the presence of certain family members and close Romualdez allies on the board of several firms across the ownership chain, (2) the interconnectedness of their management, and (3) the link of the Romualdez’ family with the networks and flow of influence which ultimately shaped the firms’ current ownership structures throughout the years.

In a recorded video message, Prof. Cielo Magno of the UP School of Economics, said Romualdez and his cohorts have been using mining as an excuse to amend the constitution when it has already been liberalized in 2004 through the La Bugal case. She said the mining sector is actually an evidence of how liberalization is not enough to address the problems in a sector like mining.

Meanwhile, Atty. Christian Monsod, former Comelec Chair, said that a proposal to shift to a parliamentary system would enable incumbent officials to stay in power without term limits, such as Prime Minister who is elected by Parliament and not directly by the people.

“There is absolutely no justifiable reason for amending the charter. We have a progressive Constitution that has strong social justice provisions and safeguards against dictatorial rule. As for foreign direct investments, there is no requirement of charter change to implement the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 nor in availing of the $73 billion investment pledges secured by the President in his trips abroad. And laws like RA 11647, RA 11659, RA 9136 and others show that there is resilience to the times with the 1987 Constitution,” he said.

“The problem is not the Constitution, it’s in not implementing it fully,” Atty. Monsod concluded.

Fr. Tony Labiao, Executive-Secretary of Caritas Philippines, called on the public to be vigilant about the deceptive moves of politicians concerning charter change. “The people must exercise good judgement and not be misled by the maneuverings of the proponents of charter change. They should look through the real agenda behind ChaCha and strongly reject any revision to the Constitution.”


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