Romualdez: Senate's RBH 6 may be answer for people’s initiative backers

Romualdez: Senate’s RBH 6 may be answer for people’s initiative backers

/ 07:29 PM January 24, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate’s Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 which calls for Charter change may just be the answer to the people’s initiative (PI) proponents’ prayers, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Wednesday.

Romualdez, after meeting with the transport sector members inside the House complex, explained that while he respects the voters’ push for a PI, RBH No. 6 may solve the concerns regarding the amendments to the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions.

“The PI is really the right of the people.  That’s their prerogative because it is enshrined in the Constitution that we can go for a constituent assembly, constitutional convention, or people’s initiative.  So let them be,” the Speaker told reporters in Filipino.


“But this is what I would tell people behind a people’s initiative — maybe these proposals from our fellow lawmakers in the Senate, the Resolution of Both Houses, maybe this would answer the people’s prayers about changing the Constitution, especially with regards to our economy because it is among the most important issues in the country,” he added.


Romualdez also said that he respects the senators’ free speech after they opposed a PI and accused the House leadership of being behind this method of Charter change.  However, he maintained that he did not agree with such views as these were not true.

Still, the Speaker said that he is ready to work with the Senate regarding RBH No. 6.

“That is also the right; it is up to them what they would say. That is the freedom of expression. I always respect the opinion of others.  I may not necessarily agree — I mean, that is not true but I respect their right, I respect their right to say such things.  But I will not agree,” he said.

“What I will tell you, what I’m ready to do (is) I’m ready to work with them hand-in-hand, as I said, we are ready to embrace the Resolution of Both Houses and I’m already telling everyone here that this is a welcome development, the House and the Senate can work together in unity — because that has always been the message of the President: to work together for the betterment of the country,” he added.

Initially, there were indications that the Senate and the House were at a crossroads when it came to Charter change: last December 2023, Romualdez and Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. called for the resumption of Charter change talks to amend the 1987 Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions.

However, since the Senate has failed to act on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6, Gonzales said the House would entertain PI proposals.


Early January, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said there was an agreement between him, Romualdez, and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. about the Senate pushing for RBH No. 6, where the House would adopt the changes that the upper chamber would make.

READ: Done deal? Zubiri says House OK to adopt Senate version of Cha-cha 

But on Tuesday, all 24 senators signed on Tuesday a manifesto rejecting the PI as a mode of Charter change, saying that they are rejecting “this brazen attempt to violate the Constitution, the country, and our people.”

Also, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva revealed that several senators are no longer interested in pushing for RBH No. 6 because it was the House leadership who was pushing for PI.

The senators’ concerns came amid reports that the PI is pushing for joint voting on the proposed amendments, once they are up for ratification.  With the joint voting, senators fear that the Senate’s stand would be disregarded as over 300 lawmakers can easily overpower the vote of 24 senators.

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Earlier, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said that proponents have finished garnering signatures for PI, as they have already obtained the 1987 Constitution requirements of having at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters — consisting of at least three percent of voters from every legislative district.

TAGS: People's Initiative, Romualdez

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