Press Release
October 30, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said the Supreme Court's ruling that the People's Initiative is void and unconstitutional effectively puts an end to constitutional change before the May 2007 elections.

"The Court clearly rules that People's Initiative, apart from the serious procedural defect, could not be used to revise the Constitution," said Angara.

He added, "The proposed change substantially altered the basic plan of government from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. That is revision, whereas the People's Initiative allows only amendment. An example of an amendment is a change reducing the voting age from 18 to 15 years," he said.

Angara further cited reports that proponents of Charter Change are now falling back on Plan B the so called Constituent Assembly route where the revision will be accomplished by 194 votes coming only from the House of Representatives, without the participation of the Senate.

"That is the House's literal reading of the 3/4 vote requirement for the proposal. The big error in this argument is that Congress must first of all be convened as a Constituent Assembly. In other words, Congress must be on a constitution-making mode, rather than merely in a law-making mode," he explained.

In this case, said Angara, there was no convening of a constituent assembly. "Convening a constituent assembly means both houses of Congress the Senate and House of Representatives voting separately. I myself am for Charter amendment through a Constituent Assembly but it must be convened properly that means, both houses voting separately and not treating the Senate as a mere number."

"It is beyond understanding why the constituent assembly route will pass constitutional muster when the case for it is even weaker than the People's Initiative," he said. "The constituent assembly proponents, therefore, might as well give up Plan B and renew their advocacy right after the May 2007 elections when Congress would have received a fresh mandate."

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