Press Release
March 24, 2006


I oppose the orchestrated efforts of the executive branch to gather signatures for a bogus Peoples Initiative.

The administration must refrain from subverting the intent of the Constitution regarding its provision on the Peoples Initiative, which gives the people the reserve right to amend the Constitution. The government should not substitute its political posture for the voice of the people.

The people must be on guard against deliberate attempts to mislead them into signing any document without an exhaustive discussion on what their signature is for.

Accordingly, I am filing on Monday a resolution calling on the Senate to inquire into the following:

1) Memorandum circular No. 2006-25 issued March 10, 2006 by the Department of Interior and Local Government directing local government officials to conduct barangay assemblies.

2) Testimony of a barangay health worker aired over television that she was promised a certain amount of money in exchange for signatures that she can submit in support of the Peoples Initiative.

This inquiry is relevant and important in view of the following facts:

1) There is already a Supreme Court decision enjoining signature-gathering activities for a peoples initiative until an enabling law is passed. In Defensor-Santiago vs. Comelec, the Supreme Court ruled that, Comelec is permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments on the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.

2) The constitutional provision on Peoples Initiative states clearly that it can only be used to amend, not revise, the Constitution.

Thus, the Supreme Court clearly prohibits the Comelec from entertaining any petition and verifying the signatures supporting the petition. In this light, the ongoing signature campaign of the administration is highly questionable.

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