Imee Marcos asks Comelec to throw out signatures for people’s initiative | Inquirer News

Imee Marcos asks Comelec to throw out signatures for people’s initiative

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:42 AM February 01, 2024

Sen. Imee Marcos

Sen. Imee Marcos (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Imee Marcos on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to clarify what will now happen to the signatures it received in relation to the people’s initiative to amend the Constitution after the poll body suspended all proceedings related to the latest Charter change (Cha-cha) move.

“The Comelec had said that these signatures remain valid and have no expiry date. If they decide to use it in 2025 or in 2026, that is still possible. Those signatures can still be recycled. So we really have to stop this people’s initiative. It’s a fake initiative. The signatures should be thrown out. Let’s start with the correct procedures,” Marcos said in a press briefing.


“As long as those signatures are there, [they] can still be used over and over. They said [these] cannot be used in 2024; maybe not in 2025, but there’s 2026. Who knows who will use them?” she added.


Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, said the Comelec should also inform the public about the proper procedure for withdrawing one’s signature.

Following the poll body’s decision to suspend all proceedings on the ongoing people’s initiative, the senator also urged it to use the P12-billion fund supposedly earmarked for a plebiscite for other purposes.

“They cannot shift the funds to be used for the upcoming national elections, for the midterm elections. The funds cannot be used for that,” Marcos said.

“[There] is already P2 billion available for the preparations for (the May) 2025 (midterm elections). But that P12 billion is supposed to be used for Cha-cha. That’s not allowed. If there is no Charter change, the funds should be returned (to the national treasury),” she added.

“Normally, the fund should be returned to the national treasury. But since the Comelec is a constitutional body … , I suggest that they use it for whatever needs they have. Use it to augment the salary of their personnel or procure additional buildings or rent additional spaces. [The fund] should only be used for that specific purpose and not for Charter change,” she added.

Last-minute addition

Sen. Francis Escudero echoed Marcos’ call, saying the P12 billion should now be repurposed and “put beyond the reach of people’s initiative.”


During a committee hearing on Tuesday, Escudero disclosed that the fund was a last-minute addition to the 2024 General Appropriations Act in anticipation of the success of the public signature campaign to amend the 1987 Constitution.

“But now that the horse is dead, there is no more use for the cart,” he stressed, adding that the fund should remain “untouched.”

He suggested that the Comelec revisit its budget under the line item “Conduct and supervision of elections, referenda, recall votes and plebiscites.”

Under the original version of the 2024 National Expenditure Program, the funding for this particular line item was at over P2.2 billion. It was eventually increased by P12 billion, bringing the total to over P14.2 billion.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“Now that the President has taken a position against the people’s initiative, and you (Comelec) are reviewing your rules, this is also an opportune time to revisit the P14 billion in your budget, realign it for the purpose of what you really need, for example, on capital outlays and personnel services such as the creation of positions, which is well within your power to do so,” Escudero said during the hearing.

TAGS: charter change, Commission on Elections, Imee Marcos, People's Initiative

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.