People’s initiative not dead, just suspended, CBCP, Bacolod lawyer’s opposition not over

Lawyer Cesar Beloria Jr. says the fight againts the People’s Initiative is not over.*

The campaign against the People’s Initiative (PI) to amend the 1987 Constitution in Bacolod City will continue despite the Commission on Elections’ indefinite suspension of its acceptance of pro-PI signatures, a Bacolod lawyer said Wednesday, January 31.

Lawyer Cesar Beloria Jr., who has been leading a campaign in Bacolod for the withdrawal of signatures in support of the People’s Initiative on the grounds that the signatories were not aware of what they were signing, said the fight is not over.

Comelec Chairperson George Garcia on Monday announced that they decided to indefinitely stop accepting the PI signatures as they want to review the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) first.

“We are happy with the Comelec’s decision but of course this is not the end of the fight,” Beloria said.

“The People’s Initiative is not dead it’s just suspended,” he said.

So they will continue with their campaign for the withdrawal of the signatures to be ready with their opposition in case the People’s Initiative resurfaces, he said.

Clearly there were irregularities in Bacolod on the manner in which the signatures were gathered, he said.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said while a People’s Initiative is allowed by the Constitution it seems that it is not a viable process.

That is ”because every time you go through a People’s Initiative there can always be a counter saying that money was involved, so we might as well take that option out” and amend the Constitution through a Constitutional Convention or a Constituent Assembly, Lacson said.

Lacson said he cannot comment on the allegation that politicians were behind the People’s Initiative “because I can say with all honesty is we never sat down with any local chief executive and talked about the people’s initiative”.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, in a statement issued Wednesday, said it is concerned about the reports of signatures gathered across the country for the so-called People’s Initiative.

“Many could sign for various reasons, but it is clear that their signing is not the result of a careful study and discussion. It seems that this People’s Initiative was initiated by a few public servants and not truly from the initiative of ordinary citizens. If that is the case, it involves deception and disregard for our true and free participation in the democratic process of our country,” the CBCP statement signed by its president, Bishop Virgilio David, said.

“This is not a simple signature. By signing, you are giving our lawmakers the power to change our Constitution. The discussion may focus on economic aspects, but even senators acknowledge the possibility of broader changes if this People’s Initiative succeeds. Some experts have already pointed out that addressing economic concerns can be done without amending the current Constitution,” the CBCP said.

COMELEC has made a decision temporarily dismissing these petitions for the People’s Initiative, but “we should not be complacent, as there may be other attempts for this Charter Change”, it said.

The CBCP said it will strive to initiate discussions about the Constitution and the issues facing the nation for the genuine good of all.

“Our prayer is that we will not sign or agree to any petition without careful discernment, discussion, and prayer. Let us not allow such deceptive systems to continue, encouraging those who continuously exploit our nation. Truly, this is not good,” it said.

The CBCP said the country has a “Constitution crafted after our peaceful liberation from a dark period in the country’s history” to ensure the well-being of every Filipino.*

Secured By miniOrangeSecured By miniOrange