Press Release
March 29, 2006

DILG-initiated barangay assemblies illegal

Senators today said the signature campaign to introduce changes to the Constitution through barangay assemblies initiated by the Department of Interior and Local Government was illegal.

In a resolution, senators cited a Supreme Court decision in Defensor-Santiago vs. Commission on Elections which ruled that R.A. No. 6735, the law regulating the peoples initiative, was inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments on the Constitution, and failed to provide sufficient standard for subordinate legislation.

The resolution was signed by 21 senators led by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon.

The other signatories were Serge Osmea, Richard Gordon, Mar Roxas, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Juan Flavier, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Compañera Pia S. Cayetano, Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, Alfredo Lim, Juan Ponce Enrile, Panfilo Lacson, M. A. Madrigal, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Rodolfo Biazon, Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Manny Villar, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Ralph Recto.

They said that in the same case, the Supreme Court also ruled that the Comelec is permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments on the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.

The senators added that under the Constitution, the exercise of the right of initiative granted to the people is limited to the right to propose amendments and not revision of the Constitution.

Thus, they stressed, the proposed change in the form of government from bicameral-presidential to unicameral-parliamentary, entails a revision of the Constitution which cannot be done through a peoples initiative.

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