Comelec halts people's initiative proceedings

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Comelec halts people's initiative proceedings
George Erwin Garcia Chairman, COMELEC.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced Monday the suspension of all proceedings related to people's initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

The poll body had received signature forms from municipalities and cities across the country for the people's initiative, a mechanism that empowers Filipinos to directly propose amendments to the Constitution, without requiring congressional action.

The signature drive, however, has faced allegations of "signature buying."

In a briefing, Comelec Chairperson George Garcia said the body's en banc has decided to suspend indefinitely the acceptance of any signature sheets for the people's initiative.

"We are suspending all of the proceedings indefinitely until we are able to review, enhance, and add something to our existing rules," Garcia said, referring to Comelec Resolution 10650, or the revised rules and regulations governing the conduct of initiative related to the Constitution.

The poll body chief added that Comelec's guidelines on people's initiative lack some provisions such as rules on withdrawal and opposition.

"This [suspension] is necessary to avoid problems, conflicts, and misunderstandings in the interpretation of the provision of the rules," Garcia said.

The petition being circulated for people's initiative seeks to allow members of Congress to jointly vote on the proposed amendments in a constitutional assembly, giving the House of Representatives an advantage as they outnumber the 24-member Senate.

This week, the Senate committee on electoral reforms, led by Sen. Imee Marcos, will investigate allegations of "signature buying" for a people's initiative to change the charter.

Marcos earlier accused her cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, of funding the ongoing signature campaign for the people's initiative for Charter change with as much as P20 million per district.

In a statement, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the public should watch the Comelec every step of the way.

“In the end, I stand firm that the proposal on the table is a revision and not an amendment, so no matter how it's twisted, this sham House of Representatives-led initiative should be buried,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.

vuukle comment





  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with