Press Release
March 22, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today denounced the Arroyo administrations outright use of government resources and personnel to support a peoples initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution and shift to a parliamentary system of government.

Pimentel questioned the directive of Secretary Ronaldo Puno to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the convening of barangay assemblies nationwide on March 25 to gather signatures in favor of Charter Change through peoples initiative under the guise of discussing the concerns and problems of the local communities.

Secretary Puno is using the municipal development officers of the DILG to conduct barangay assemblies nationwide to solicit signatures for Charter Change which is Glorias way of avoiding an inglorious end, he said.

Pimentel said that the use of government personnel, funds and other resources for peoples initiative can by no means be legally justified because this is envisioned under the 1987 Constitution to be essentially a private effort to work for constitutional reforms.

He said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Cabinet members, governors and mayors have no business spearheading or interceding in the peoples initiative.

Otherwise, he said it should no longer be called peoples initiative and it will have no semblance of credibility or constitutional validity.

Pimentel said Punos illegal directive only validates the suspicion that he was placed by Malacañang as DILG head and gave up his elective congressional seat to act as the master strategist for the administration-sponsored peoples initiative as the last fallback position for Charter Change in view of the failure to overcome obstacles to the conversion of the Congress into a constituent assembly.

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