Press Release
May 17, 2006

Senate, multi-sectoral groups to launch nationwide
info drive vs. people's initiative

The Senate has joined with 2,500 organizations across the country to launch a massive information blitz against changing the Constitution through the obviously unconstitutional Malacanang-backed people's initiative.

Lawyer Antonio Gallardo, head of the Senate Coordinating Council against People's Initiative, said yesterday the move was in response to a Senate resolution signed by 21 senators declaring the people's initiative illegal.

He said the Senate, key groups and prominent personalities from various sectors have agreed that there should be a more organized information drive against charter change and the people's initiative, especially in the provinces. Part of the campaign is a series of anti-Cha-cha events like road shows, education campaigns, and forums, all leading up to what they said will be the Big Event in June.

Gallardo, chief of staff of the Office of the Senate President, said some senators will fan out in the provinces and join road shows to educate the public that the people's initiative resorted to by the administration is illegal and immoral.

In key urban centers in the provinces, the anti-Chacha coalition has scheduled a series of activities, including rallies, to drum up support for their cause. Coalition members will also distribute leaflets and primers explaining GMA's illegal and deceptive political exercise.

"We will bring to the grassroots the issue of Cha-cha and explain to the people how the untimely and hurried revision of our Constitution will affect them," said Gallardo, adding that the issue of Cha-cha needs extensive study, analysis and widespread discussion among the various sectors of the society.

Gallardo said that based on information reaching the Senate and the anti-Charter Change organizations, the proposed revision to the Constitution has not been intelligently explained to the people during the gathering of their signatures.

Proponents of Charter change, Gallardo said, have deceptively led the people to believe that saying yes to Charter change and affixing their signatures would eventually lead to the ouster of President Arroyo.

"We are mobilizing the media relations officers of all senators allied with the anti-people's initiative campaign to help in disseminating information on the position of their principals," said the former governor of Camiguin province.

According to Gallardo, among the known groups and personalities that coalesced under the STOP Chacha slogan (Sa Tamang Oras at Paraan) include the Black and White Movement, Akbayan, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Finex, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Citizens for Constitutional Convention, Laban sa Masa, United Opposition, Hyatt 10 and senators and opposition congressmen.

As the anti-Chacha snowballs, the Senate will also host a weekly gathering dubbed “Kapihan sa Senado” starting on May 25 to better inform the people about the issues surrounding the proposed constitutional change and the real intent of those advocating it.

Seminars and forums on Chacha issue will also be held in the Senate for its employees and the public. Gallardo said the Kapihan is designed to thresh out major issues relative to charter change, raise relevant questions and to freely interact with knowledgeable resource speakers invited by the Senate.

He said the 21 senators who are against the Palace-initiated people's initiative saw the need for more in-depth studies and intelligent debates on Charter change, as no concrete proposal on how the country should go about the shift from presidential to unicameral system has ever been presented.

The anti-Chacha coalition has also scheduled a rally dubbed 'Tango muna bago mag-chacha'in front of the Commission on Elections building in Intramuros from 3 to 6 p.m. on May 19.

News Latest News Feed