Imee Marcos: Romualdez mastermind behind people’s initiative

MANILA. Senator Imee Marcos.
MANILA. Senator Imee Marcos.File photo

SENATOR Imee Marcos said on Friday, January 26, 2024, that his cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, is “definitely” behind the controversial people’s initiative (PI) for Charter change (Cha-cha).

In a virtual press conference, Marcos said Romualdez’s office offered a P20 million reward per legislative district in exchange of signatures in support of the PI.

"Definitely, opisina niya ang nag-alok ng P20 million kada distrito. Definitely, nanggaling sa kanila 'yung very attenuated timeline na July 9… tapos na ang lahat, at ibibigay nila nang buong-buo itong economic provisions, etc. So, definitely, that derived from his office with very clear numbers identifying the staff members and attorneys involved," she said.

(Definitely, his office offered P20 million per district. Definitely, the very attenuated timeline of July 9 came from them... everything is over, and they will fully provide these economic provisions, etc.)

Romualdez, in a press conference, also on Friday, January 26, denied Marcos’ claims.

"Maraming Marites (gossipers) diyan sa Senate (There’s a lot of gossipers at the Senate). All speculation," he said.

MANILA. Senator Imee Marcos.
House Speaker denies giving orders for people’s initiative efforts

Romualdez urged the Senate to focus on their job, particularly to approve the administration’s priority legislation instead of criticizing the House of Representatives.

"Tapos na ang trabaho ng House of Representatives. Tapos na lahat ng assignment. Iyong senador, hindi pa tapos. Tapusin niyo ang trabaho niyo. Naghihintay ang mga Pilipino. Kadugay (ang babagal)," he said.

(The work of the House of Representatives is done. All assignments are done. For senators, it's not over yet. Finish your work. Filipinos are waiting. You’re too slow.)

"Wala kayong pakialam sa PI. Trabaho 'yan ng taumbayan. Ang Congress at senator, ang trabaho, legislation (You don't care about PI. That's the job of the people. Congress and senators work on legislation). PI is power of the people. Kayong mga senador (You senators) buckle down to work. There is only 24 of you, get your act together. Focus on your work. Stop hitting on Congress and maintain parliamentary courtesy," he added.

As reported earlier, financial aids are allegedly being offered to the public in various regions in exchange of their signatures in support of the PI, which seeks to amend the 1987 Constitution through voting from the members of the upper and lower chamber of Congress.

The Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms chaired by Marcos is expected to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier ordered the Senate to take the lead in reviewing the economic provisions of the Constitution, as he agreed that the proposals under the people’s initiative were “too divisive.”

But Senator Marcos said the signature drive did not stop.

“I will have to admit that there’s a very serious trust issue given that the Senate obediently drafted and signed the Resolution [of Both Houses] 6 with a clear understanding that the efforts to collate signatures for a PI with the form already issued would be stopped pero hindi naman nahinto, tinuloy-tuloy pa (it has not been stopped; it continues),” she said.

The said resolution seeks to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution or any people’s initiative led by the Senate.

Romualdez earlier expressed full support to the RBH 6.

On Tuesday, January 23, the Senate unanimously signed a manifesto rejecting the PI for Cha-cha which the chamber tagged as a “brazen attempt to violate the Constitution, the country and our people.”

“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,” the manifesto read.

“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,” it added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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