Press Release
September 2, 2006


The proponents of charter change, particularly the patrons of peoples initiative, should not influence the Supreme Court to decide based on what they alleged as 6.3 million overwhelming signatures in support thereof. The Supreme Court will decide not based on what is popular, but based on what is right, said Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, in reaction to the statement of House Speaker Jose De Venecia that the Supreme Court cant ignore the 6.3 million signatures in the recently rejected peoples initiative petition.

After the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) junked the peoples initiative petition for lack of an enabling law following a Supreme Court decision on the matter, Sigaw ng Bayan and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) are expected to take the legal battle once again to the Supreme Court in the hope of a turnaround by the High Tribunal. However, Gordon cautioned that these proponents, as well as their patrons, should not preempt the Supreme Court and invalidly assume the sufficiency of their petition at this early stage with no factual basis whatsoever.

They cannot prevail upon the Supreme Court by the mere tyranny of their alleged numbers in support of their peoples initiative petition, stated Gordon. There is no valid factual finding on the veracity and authenticity, as well as the sufficiency, of the signatures presented in their petition so it is premature to conclude that it is genuinely the peoples will.

There is no basis to validly determine this allegation of fact. The Supreme Court cannot be cowed into accepting this allegation as basis for its decision, he added.

In any case, one thing is for sure. What we need is an enabling law for peoples initiative, which would provide the proper process for verification and authenticity, as well as the determination of the sufficiency of the petition, with the concomitant safeguards to ensure that it is not misused to promote certain interests and agenda of only a few, said Gordon.

Instead of instigating instability, inconsistency, and infirmity in our legal system by asking the Supreme Court to reverse itself, they should just work earnestly towards passing an enabling law to implement the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution, declared Gordon. Bring the battle to Congress, not to the Supreme Court, he concluded.

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