THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended all the proceedings concerning the controversial People’s Initiative (PI) for Charter change (Cha-cha) that aims to amend the 1987 Constitution.
In a press conference Monday, January 29, 2024, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said proceedings related to PI, including the acceptance of signature forms, is suspended until further notice to avoid “problems, chaos and misunderstandings.”
“Base po sa aming initial assessment, kailangan naming i-review, i-enhance, dagdagan ‘yung aming existing IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) concerning the People’s Initiative dahil sa atin pong palagay, may mga bagay po doon na kulang at wala sa ating guidelines,” he added.
(Based on our initial assessment, we need to review, enhance, add to our existing IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) concerning the People's Initiative because in our opinion, there are things that are lacking and not in our guidelines.)
Garcia was referring to Comelec Resolution 10650, which allows the submission of signature pages, as well as their certification as an integral part of the petition for PI.
The Comelec chairman admitted earlier, though, that there is no petition filed yet related to PI.
As of January 26, 2024, the Comelec said it has received signature forms related to PI from 1,072 municipalities and cities.
As mandated under the 1987 Constitution, amendments can be proposed through a people’s initiative upon a petition of at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three percent of the registered voters.
The Comelec is mandated to verify the authenticity of the signatures attached to the petition before it can schedule a national plebiscite wherein people will vote on the petitioners' proposed constitutional amendments.
In a radio interview, Garcia said those who signified for PI may proceed to their offices if they wish to withdraw their signatures.
The PI for Cha-cha has become controversial due to alleged “signature for sale” or offerings of social financial aids in exchange of signatures.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez was also accused of architecting the push for Cha-cha through PI in exchange of P20 million reward per legislative district. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)