Press Release
August 27, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos is merely trying to uphold the law by acknowledging that the poll body is bound to adhere by the 1997 Supreme Court ruling enjoining the poll body from entertaining any petition for a peoples initiative to amend the Constitution due to the absence of an adequate enabling law.

Pimentel lauded Abalos for taking this position although this will not endear him to Malacañang and its allies that are feverishly working for Charter Change to replace the bicameral presidential system with a unicameral parliamentary system.

The minority leader said he could see no way how the Comelec can act favorably on the petition of the Sigaw ng Bayan coalition and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) for the holding of a plebiscite on Charter amendments given the injunction of the Supreme Court that is binding on Comelec.

Chairman Abalos has already declared some days back that the Comelec cannot entertain the action contemplated by Sigaw ng Bayan and ULAP precisely because there is no law that allows a peoples initiative to amend the Constitution, Pimentel pointed out.

It is therefore far-fetched that the Comelec as Comelec would grant the petition.

Pimentel said the Charter Change advocates would merely be harboring false hopes if they think that the poll body would approve their petition. He said the Comelec would run the risk of being rebuffed and sanctioned by the Supreme Court if it tries to go around and defy its ruling on the issue.

In its 1997 decision, the Supreme Court held that a peoples initiative to amend the Constitution was not possible on the basis of Republic Act 6735, the Law on Peoples Initiative and Referendum, which was deemed inadequate for the purpose. It said Congress should first enact the necessary enabling law. However, Congress has not done so up to now.

News Latest News Feed