Withdrawal forms for PI signatures

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has introduced withdrawal forms for signatures related to the petition for the People’s Initiative (PI), which are now accessible at all polling offices.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has introduced withdrawal forms for signatures related to the petition for the People’s Initiative (PI), which are now accessible at all polling offices.COMELEC

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has introduced withdrawal forms for signatures related to the petition for the People’s Initiative (PI), which are now accessible at all polling offices.

During the Senate Committee Hearing on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation on Thursday, February 15, 2024, Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. Dela Rosa said that certain individuals expressed their intention to withdraw their signatures from the PI signature sheets. 

In response, Comelec issued withdrawal forms, clarifying that these forms are for recording purposes only and do not constitute a formal action against the PI. 

They are available at the Offices of the Election Officers (OEOs) nationwide, and once completed, they can be submitted to the same office.

“Comelec's acceptance of withdrawal forms is for recording purposes only and shall not be construed as formal action by the Commission on the signature sheets/petition for People's Initiative,” the office said in their post.

Individuals seeking to withdraw their signatures must provide personal information such as their name, address, barangay, precinct number, and the reason for withdrawal on the designated form.

The post also mentioned the suspension of Resolution No. 10650, according to Minute Resolution No. 24-0055 dated January 29, 2024. Resolution No. 10650 outlines the “revised rules and regulations governing the conduct of: 1. Initiative on the constitution; and 2. Initiative and referendum on National and Local Legislation.”

While this initiative is not a formal action against the PI, some individuals like Kariza Jean Gavanez, a teacher and resident of Talomo Proper, Davao City, expressed concern about reaching people in remote areas who may have unknowingly signed the PI forms. 

In an interview with SunStar Davao on Sunday, February 18, 2024, Kariza Jean Gavanez, a teacher and resident of Talomo Proper, Davao City, expressed her views, stating, “Nindot ni bahalag ilista lang nila pero feel naku dili nil ana makuha tanan mga gusto mag withdraw sa ilang perma labi na tung naa sa bukid. Didtoa baya gyud kadalasan ang daghan nipirma nya wala kabalo nga sa PI na diay ilang gipirmahan (It's a positive step, even if they just list it down. However, I doubt they will reach everyone who wants to withdraw their signature, especially those living in the hinterlands. The majority of those who signed without realizing it was for the People's Initiative are from those areas).” 

Neil John Ang, a registered respiratory therapist, underscored the importance of informing the public that these forms do not signify a legal action against the People's Initiative. 

He urged Comelec to prioritize educational and awareness initiatives to ensure that all stakeholders understand the significance of the People's Initiative, regardless of whether the recent activity is about gathering data rather than formal action. RGP

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