Press Release
April 3, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today accused the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of stepping beyond the bounds of its legal functions by using the Local Government Units (LGUs) for the signature campaign for Charter Change based on the mistaken notion that they are under the control of the department.

Pimentel said the DILG under Secretary Ronaldo Puno, has no business acting like an overload of the LGUs and dictating on them what they should do because they have become autonomous entities since the enactment of the Local Government Code in 1991.

The actuations of Secretary Puno violate local autonomy because the Local Government Code has removed the LGUs provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays from the control of the DILG.

In fact, he said one the logical consequences of the enactment of the Code is the abolition of the DILG.

The DILG should have been phased out five years after the enactment of the Local Government Code, said Pimentel, principal author of the Code.

Pimentel said the DILGs denial that it was behind the Cha-Cha signature drive falls flat in the face of reports that the DILG field offices in the provinces, cities and municipalities were the ones that distributed the Cha-Cha forms during the March 25 barangay assemblies.

He said he also received reports that the DILG distributed P500,000 to each congressional district for the signature drive and the money was coursed through the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) accounts of the departments regional coordinators.

Aside from this, Pimentel said the DILG was also involved in the printing of the forms for which public funds were spent.

The DILG masterminded the printing of the forms which were found to be similar throughout the nation. There was only one source for the forms and public money was used for it, he said.

Saying that what the DILG is doing is against the law, Pimentel said this probably explains why Puno, being the master operator that he is, has delegated to DILG Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar the signing of directives related to the peoples initiative for Charter Change.

You will not see the signature of Secretary Puno in the DILG directives. Only the name and signature of Undersecretary Andanar can be found there.

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