Press Release
October 28, 2006

Drilon deplores criticism against justices
who junked the people's initiative

Liberal Party President Franklin M. Drilon today deplored criticisms targeting members of the Supreme Court who junked the petition of pro-Charter change groups Sigaw ng Bayan and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) to amend the 1987 Constitution through a people's initiative.

"The vicious attack against the Supreme Court and the justices who voted against the people's initiative are unfortunate and absolutely uncalled for. Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio are two of the country's best legal minds today who are known for their unquestionable integrity and sense of independence," Drilon said.

"I appeal for sobriety for the Cha-Cha proponents to respect our democratic institutions, particularly the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter of legal issues and the last bastion of the rule of law, "the former Senate President said.

"As they say it in the colloquial, 'Ang pikon, talo. (He who loses his cool loses),"he added.

Earlier, Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone claimed that Chief Justice Panganiban is running for senator in the May 2007 elections.

Panganiban will be retiring in December. He drew the ire of proponents of the people's initiativeincluding ULAP to which Evardone belongsafter the high court voted 8-7 on Wednesday to dismiss their petition. Panganiban is said to have cast the swing vote that decided the fate of the petition.

The petition filed by Sigaw seeks to propose amendments to Articles VI and VII of the Constitution and provides for transitory provisions leading to the shift from the bicameral presidential system to a unicameral parliamentary government.

The 52-page decision of the high court said proponents of the initiative had called for a "revision" of the constitution and not mere amendments, making it unconstitutional. The court also cast doubt on the legitimacy of six million signatures the petitioners claimed to have gathered supporting the move.

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