Press Release
October 14, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said that the scheduled May 2007 elections should take place even amid the intense preparations for constitutional change.

The two are not incompatible. We can hold the May 2007 elections and push through with the effort to change the constitution, said Angara .

Angara said that the holding of the scheduled May 2007 elections is important because this will serve as the regular audit of Filipino voters on the performance of elected public officials.

Elections, said Angara , can only be suspended based on strong and exceptional reasons and the preparation for charter change does not merit the suspension of the scheduled polls.

Expressing his own view on the current peoples initiative case which the Supreme Court will decide on early next month, Angara said that the peoples initiative is not the proper way to change the constitution.

A peoples initiative, said Angara , is good for simple amendments to the Charter and not to changes as important as changing the form of the Philippine government from presidential to parliamentary. Noted Filipino constitutionalists support this view, he added.

If the Supreme Court decides, however, that the 9 million signatures supposed to have been gathered by the proponents of the initiative are enough, then a plebiscite will be called to decide with finality on the issue, said Angara . Under this situation, the proponents have the edge because plebiscites do not loose in the Philippine context, he added.

This, he said, will lead to the cancellation of the May 2007 elections.

Angara said he has no idea on how the Supreme Court will vote on the issue. He, however, expressed hopes that the SC will decide against it.

Angara said the work of changing the constitution should be done by a constituent assembly, in which creation should be approved by the House and the Senate voting separately.

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