Colmenares, Lagman hit people's initiative on Cha-cha | Inquirer News

Colmenares, Lagman hit people’s initiative on Cha-cha

/ 08:05 PM January 25, 2024


Colmenares, Lagman hit people's initiative on Cha-cha

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman (Photo from House of Representatives FB page)


MANILA, Philippines — Former lawmaker and Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares on Thursday urged the public to oppose the people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution at the district level. 


Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman also said that the people’s initiative still has no weight as of now because it has to go through a myriad of processes — like a formal filing of a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and the validation of the signatures in the petition.


“The Constitution requires a people’s initiative to gather the signatures of at least 3% of the registered voters in every district, so we need to challenge this PI in the districts.  If the Senate or those who oppose the people’s initiative could invalidate a PI in a district or at least get a TRO against it in the local courts or Comelec, then the entire initiative will fall,” Colmenares, a lawyer by profession, said.

“The Senate and other oppositors should question in the opposition, the use of public funds in the gathering of signatures, the authenticity of signatures and the initiative process itself because this PI is not a mere amendment but essentially a revision of the Constitution,” he added.

Signature, other issues 

“The promoters of people’s initiative to amend the Constitution for joint voting in the constituent assembly are brandishing mere scraps of signature sheets because pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 10650 dated January 31, 2020, the alleged signatures are to be verified whether they are ‘genuine and authentic and whether the Petitioner is a voter with active registration record’,” Lagman said in a separate statement.

 “Without such prior verification by election officers nationwide, such signatures are not sufficient to support a petition for people’s initiative,” he added.

 Lagman also reminded the public of the rumors that surrounded the campaign, saying that it has been “marred by disinformation, and signature buying which is a criminal offense under the Omnibus Election Code in relation to the Initiative and Referendum Act”.

He also noted that under a Supreme Court ruling, people’s initiative cannot be used for a full-scale revision of the Constitution.


“The prevailing jurisprudence is that the Initiative and Referendum Act or R.A. No. 6736 is inadequate to implement people’s initiative to amend the Constitution as held in Santiago vs. Comelec,” Lagman said.

 Salceda’s claim

On Wednesday, Lagman’s fellow Albay lawmaker Rep. Joey Salceda announced that the 12 percent requirement for signatures petitioning a People’s Initiative (PI) to amend the 1987 Constitution has been reached.

With this, Salceda said the Constitution “should operate as provided”.

Under Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution, there are three methods of amending the basic law: through a constituent assembly, a constitutional convention, and a people’s initiative.

If the people’s initiative route is picked, there has to be a petition of at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters, consisting of at least three percent of voters from every legislative district.

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TAGS: Cha-cha, Constitution

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