Want to withdraw signature for Cha-cha? Comelec says no rule for it yet

Want to withdraw signature for Cha-cha? Comelec says no rule for it yet

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:50 PM January 30, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Bad news for Filipinos allegedly duped into signing the people’s initiative (PI) for Charter change (Cha-cha): There is no rule yet for withdrawing their signatures.

Appearing at a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia was asked if the poll body would allow the withdrawal of signatures.

“Will the Comelec allow this, and if you allow this, paano ba ang gagawin nila? Saan sila pupunta…?” Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa asked as the Senate committee on electoral reforms probed the controversies hounding the Cha-cha signature drive.


“’Yun po ang kadahilanan kung bakit sinuspend din namin ang rules sapagka’t wala pong provision sa Comelec Resolution No. 10650 ng procedure ng withdrawal ng mga signatures,” Garcia answered.


(That is the reason why we also suspended the rules because there is no provision in Comelec Resolution No. 10650 for the procedure of withdrawing signatures.)

Promulgated in January 2020, the resolution serves as the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act.

Garcia said even their local offices that received the signatures would not allow the withdrawal since it was not provided in the rules.

“At the same time, ni wala pong form sa withdrawal,” Garcia pointed out.

(At the same time, there is also no form for withdrawal.)

“So ibig sabihin po, ‘pag tiningnan niyo, ng isang independent person ‘yung mismong aming rules, as if hindi siya pumapayag na may mag-withdraw na kahit na isa dun sa mga signatories,” he added.


(It means that when an independent person looks at our rules, it’s as if it does not agree that someone, or even a single signatory, can withdraw.)

There is also no provision in the Comelec rules on the issue of whether or not an observer or a watcher is allowed during the verification of signatures, Garcia said.

But why did the Comelec receive the PI signatures despite Garcia’s pronouncements that the signature sheets were just mere “scraps of paper” without a petition? Panel head Senator Imee Marcos posed this question to Garcia.

“Simply because it’s provided for in Comelec Resolution 10650 which we suspended in order to resolve issues such as this one—whether or not really the petition should come first or the signature forms should come first ahead of the petition,” the Comelec chief replied.

The suspension of the Comelec resolution was announced Monday amid heated debates on the alleged questionable Cha-cha signature campaign.

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READ: Comelec explains move to receive Cha-cha drive signatures

TAGS: Cha-cha, Comelec, People's Initiative, signature

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