Villanueva says he has proof House behind ‘fake people’s initiative’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on Friday claimed he has proof that the leadership of the House of Representatives was behind the alleged people’s initiative proposing to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Villanueva made the pronouncement after revealing that his office has already received thousands of complaints against the supposed people’s initiative which he tagged as a “fake initiative.”
“May mga listahan na po ako, nagagawa na po ako ng listahan – Mayors, even governors, meron na pong mga voicemail na pinapadala, boses ng mga kongresista na tinuturo po ang liderato ng kamara,” said Villanueva in a press conference.
(I already have lists, and I’m already creating lists – Mayors and even governors have voicemails that are being sent, with the voices of congressmen pointing at the leadership of the chamber.)
“Ngayon kung meron po sa inyo na hindi congressman, dito sa balat ng lupa na magsasabing hindi galing sa kanila (House of Representative) o hindi sila ang nagpush nitong ‘people’s initiative’ kuno o nitong ‘pekeng initiative’ mahirap po,” he added.
(Now, if there’s anyone among you who is not a congressman here on the face of the earth claiming that this did not come from them in the House of Representatives or they did not push for this so-called ‘people’s initiative’ or ‘fake initiative,’ that will be difficult.)
Villanueva even claimed that the voicemails also involved four congressmen who personally identified Speaker Martin Romualdez as the driving force behind the initiative.
“Even a congressman is pointing at his leader. May mga voicemail na kilala ko ‘yung boses eh,” said Villanueva.
(Even a congressman is pointing at his leader. I recognize the voices in some voicemails.)
“Apat na congressman ‘yung narinig kong boses (I heard the voices of four congressmen),” he recounted.
However, Villanueva said they are still studying if the voicemails can be used as evidence.
All of this developed after proponents for a people’s initiative started collecting signatures to propose amending the 1987 Constitution; however, concerns arose regarding signatories being bribed to support the initiative.
Villanueva in the same briefing even disclosed that the complainants claimed that 85 to 80 percent of the signatories were unaware of the purpose of the documents they were signing.
He said they were deceived into signing the sheets under the false pretense of receiving rewards or becoming future beneficiaries of a specific congressman.
INQUIRER.net has already reached Romualdez’s camp for their side but has yet to receive a response as of writing.
Romualdez earlier denied ever issuing a directive to start a people’s initiative in a bid to amend the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions in response to Senator Bato dela Rosa’s claims that a House member informed him that it was the Speaker who ‘waved his hand’ to initiate a people’s initiative.
“Ah si Senator Bato […] I don’t know what he’s talking about; he has not mentioned any congressman… so again, I don’t respond to general statements,” Romualdez said on the sidelines of the Congress TV channel launch at the House complex.
“No orders,” Romualdez added.