Statement of the Senate on the People’s Initiative
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is an enduring symbol of our democracy, enshrining the foundation of our nationhood and reflecting the consensus of our citizenry.
We respect and recognize the people as our sovereign, with the right to call for Constitutional amendments. We must, however, guard against any sinister and underhanded attempt to change our Constitution by exploiting our democratic process under the guise of a people’s initiative.
This so-called “people’s” initiative (PI) proposes only one change: in acting as a constituent assembly, the Senate and the House shall vote jointly. While it seems simple, the goal is apparent—to make it easier to revise the Constitution by eliminating the Senate from the equation. It is an obvious prelude to further amendments, revisions, or even an overhaul of our entire Constitution.
If this PI prospers, further changes to the Constitution can be done with or without the Senate’s approval, or worse, even absent all the senators. Should Congress vote jointly in a constituent assembly, the Senate and its 24 members cannot cast any meaningful vote against the 316 members of the House of Representatives.
This singular and seemingly innocuous change in the Constitution will open the floodgates to a wave of amendments and revisions that will erode the nation as we know it.
To allow joint voting will destroy the delicate balance on which our hard-won democracy rests. It will destabilize the principle of bicameralism and our system of checks and balances. With this change, the Senate is left powerless to stop even the most radical proposals:
- We cannot protect our lands from foreign ownership;
- We cannot stop the removal of term limits, or even a no election scenario in 2025 or worse, in 2028.
It is ridiculous that the Senate, a co-equal chamber of the House, which is needed to pass even local bills, will have a dispensable and diluted role in Charter change—the most monumental act of policymaking concerning the highest law in the land.
Throughout Philippine history, the Senate has always been one of the first targets by those who seek to undermine our country’s democracy.
Today, the Senate once again stands as a bastion of democracy, as it rejects this brazen attempt to violate the Constitution, the country, and our people.
This Senate of the people will not allow itself to be silenced.