Chan, Cortes favor ‘cha-cha’

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan.File photos

AMID concerns about the proliferation of people’s initiative (PI) sheets used to collect signatures for a campaign to amend the 1987 Constitution, the mayors of the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu said they believe Charter change is necessary.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said he agrees with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that certain economic provisions of the Constitution need to be changed to attract more foreign investors and promote economic growth in the Philippines.

Cortes said some provisions of the Constitution are outdated and may not be applicable in today’s governance. He believes any change should focus on economic reforms.

“We have to stick to what is needed. It is a very old Constitution and it really needs to be reviewed. But this time, we need to let people understand what needs to be amended,” Cortes said of the 37-year-old Constitution.

He said people should be made to understand the proposed amendments before making them sign the PI sheets.

For his part, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan also expressed support for Charter change as long as it brings improvement, he said, to the citizens and Philippine governance.

While claiming that he has not seen the exact content of the PI forms, Chan said the changes must prioritize “economic aspects.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, Lapu-Lapu City Election Officer Ann Janette Lamban, said the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office received PI forms with approximately 49,770 signatures from alleged Lapu-Lapu City voters.

The city has a total 256,171 registered voters based on the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) held in October 2023.

Lamban said they already submitted a certification to the Comelec en banc, stating that they had received the signed PI forms.

Earlier, Comelec offices in Mandaue also confirmed receiving PI forms with approximately 35,000 signatures, while the Cebu City South District Comelec office received around 47,000 signatures.

Mandaue has 236,668 registered voters, while Cebu City South District has around 400,000 registered voters.

According to the 1987 Constitution, registered voters can directly propose amendments to the Constitution through a signature campaign or people’s initiative.

The provision states that “through initiative upon a petition of at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters, every legislative district must be represented by at least three percent of the registered voters therein.”

This means the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu would each need at least 7,000 signatures, while the Cebu City South District would require roughly 12,000 signatures for the PI to be effective.

The provision further states that any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or a constitutional convention.

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