Press Release
April 10, 2006

Oppose charter change, Senate employees told

A high-ranking Senate official today called on Senate employees to stand firm against moves to change the Constitution through the so-called peoples initiative.

Atty. Antonio A. Gallardo, chief of staff of the Office of the Senate President, said Senate employees should organize themselves and participate in the public debate on charter change.

I humbly suggest that we help in opposing this so-called peoples initiative which is really a Malacañang initiative. It is not only unconstitutional but downright immoral, Gallardo told employees during the flag-raising ceremony this morning.

Citing the case of Defensor Santiago versus Comelec, Gallardo said the Supreme Court ruled that Comelec is permanently prevented or enjoined from entertaining any petition on peoples initiative until an enabling law is passed.

The peoples initiative is only for making specific not wholesale changes of the Constitution, Gallardo said.

The ongoing exercise is unconstitutional because it is for the changing of the structure of the government from presidential to parliamentary and that is a revision, he explained.

He said even the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has doubted whether the initiative was truly of, by and for the people.

The former Camiguin governor also cautioned Senate employees against the danger of an Interim Parliament which will be tasked to determine when the next election will be for the members of the parliament and all local government officials.

And here lies the grand deception because this in effect is the NOEL conspiracy no elections for the next how many years, Gallardo said.

For his part, Atty. Oscar Yabes, Senate Secretary, asked Senate employees to take advantage of the Lenten break and explain to the people, their neighbors and friends why the charter change initiative should be opposed.

In your own small way, you can greatly help in explaining to the people, your neighbors and friends the sinister objective of this government-initiated peoples initiative, Yabes said.

It is not only our livelihood that is at stake. The greater interest of the whole country is also at stake, Yabes said.

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