Senate probe into signature drive for Charter change kicks off

Senate investigates Cha-cha signature drive

/ 10:00 AM January 30, 2024

PH-SOUTH KOREA SOCIAL SECURITY AGREEMENT: Sen. Imee R. Marcos presides over the Committee on Foreign Relations’ public hearing on the agreement on social security between the Philippines and South Korea. During Monday’s hearing May 29, 2023, Marcos stated four basic issues on social security: 1) the quality of treatment between the citizens of the Philippines and the citizens of South Korea; 2) providing more provisions on export of benefits; 3) totalization of insurance periods; and 4) mutual administrative assistance. “We call this hearing for the purpose of concurring to the ratification of the agreement on said arrangement between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea,” Marcos said, adding that the Philippines has been negotiating for the social security agreement since 1982. On November 15, 2019, during President Rodrigo R. Duterte's visit to South Korea for the ASEAN - Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, five agreements were signed including the Social Security Agreement (SSA) that will address social security coverage of Filipinos in South Korea and Koreans in the Philippines. (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB) imee marcos romualdez people's initiative

FILE PHOTO: Senator Imee Marcos during a May 29, 2023 Senate hearing. Senator Marcos leads the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, which will spearhead the probe into a signature drive for Charter change. The controversial campaign is being done through a supposed people’s initiative. (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate started investigating the controversial signature drive on Tuesday as a supposed people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

The Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, which Senator Imee Marcos leads, would handle the probe.


Some of the issues that the inquiry is anticipated to cover are:

  • Allegations of corruption involving party-list coordinators securing votes for the people’s initiative and its impact on process integrity.
  • Other deceptive practices, including offering incentives and misleading residents to sign the initiative, and motivations behind such actions.
  • Transparency, integrity, and accountability in constitutional initiatives and condemnation of corrupt activities.
  • The need to assess Republic Act 6735’s (Initiative and Referendum Act) effectiveness in empowering citizens to propose constitutional changes.

The Senate panel emphasized that a signature campaign for people’s initiative is a “grassroots endeavor designed to harness citizen engagement for the purpose of influencing legislative or policy changes.”

However, concerns about the signature drive were raised following reports that some party-list coordinators received money to “ensure the required number of votes” for the people’s initiative.

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman earlier disclosed that the Albay League of Mayors convened a meeting without revealing the agenda. People signed the petition for Charter change during that supposed meeting in exchange for money.

READ: Lagman says public funds being used for Cha-cha drive

According to Lagman, such a deceitful practice also occurred in Quezon City.

On the other hand, Senators blamed their counterparts in the House of Representatives for allegedly stirring the “fake people’s initiative,” which they believe is a blatant move to dismantle the upper chamber.

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TAGS: 1987 Constitution, charter change, People's Initiative, Politics, Senate

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