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Mar 26

Institutionalizing people power

In a comment, commenter Francis asked if anyone’s come up with a counter-signature campaign, a question seconded by commenter CJV. I’ve had such a plan, all the way since September-October last year, and even got legal advice from some lawyers. The problem is, none of the groups I presented it to, were keen on it, for logistical reasons. The primary reason being, no money to set up such an effort.

At the time, the code name given the effort was “Beauty Contest,” and as the primer will explain, the effort was designed to accomplish several things:

1. Enable the public to express its opinions in a legal, democratic manner.
2. Serve as a means to counter the political machinery of the administration.
3. Keep political engagement within what’s constitutional, to prevent public frustration from being channeled towards non-constitutional efforts.
4. Take the fight out of Metro Manila and undertake it on a nationwide basis where each province gets to be heard.

My view was to channel opposition to the President in terms of each province passing a resolution saying they want the President to go. The resolution could just as easily be a positive one -in favor of a Constitutional Convention, for example- as a negative one -against the present, Palace-sponsored “people’s initiative.”

Opposition from the many groups I consulted was based on the following arguments:

1. It engaged in a fight -numbers- the administration’s poised to win.
2. Those in favor of more extreme measures -transitional councils, etc.- felt it would impede their efforts.
3. Too expensive (those with organizational experience said such an effort would require something along the lines of 2.5 million pesos).
4. Too long.
5. Even if provinces pass a resolution, it has no real effect other than to express something everyone already knows.

The end result has been that it got nowhere, while a similar effort has been undertaken by the administration. I was proposing this effort as recently as last week, but people still aren’t keen. The experience has left me extremely frustrated, of course; I said time and again that if we wouldn’t even try, then we might as well fold up our tents, go home, and join in singing the President’s praises.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s the paper and the research. The details include what I felt was clearly coming at the time it was written last year. The research proposes two ways citizens could get involved: on an individual level, or according to their organizations (such as lawyers’ groups, etc.). Both would resort to the law on initiative and referendum. A proposed resolution would be filed with the provincial board or city council. If the resolution is rejected, the citizenry could then say it has the requisite number of signatures to require a referendum so that the entire city or provincial electorate could decide the question. At that point, the Comelec would begin the steps required to validate signatures and then schedule a referendum.

Primer on a “Beauty Contest”

I. Objectives:

Reclaim constitution and the law: the process is mandated by law, provided for by law, requires the participation, peacefully, of the people.

Define a new people power through legal power: direct democracy again, countering elite power, that is, the manifestations of support by mayors and governors.

Harness direct democracy and the preference for the ballot box over protests: people will vote. Nuns can strap themselves to the ballot boxes. Attempts to cheat can be thwarted on the local level.

Derail the Cha-cha schedule, particularly the Cha-Cha referendum, derailed by our own. Invade the Cha-cha commission meetings to solicit signatures.

Withdraw support from the provinces, culminating in Manila: the President will be forced to campaign for office again, and machinations can be exposed: every city she visits must be festooned with black mourning banners and wreaths to greet her. Every effort, whether by Comelec, Supreme Court, Congress, Malacañang, or local kingpins pits national institutions against the local electorate.

Declare holidays as each province reaches its quota: peaceful, defiant, doesn’t inconvenience the unconcerned.

Declare holidays as each city and municipality in Metro Manila reaches its quota.

Declare a holiday when the referendum is won. By this time, it will be world news, and the world will know the President has been rejected by her people.

The people will lead. The clergy will provide moral support. The armed forces will simply watch.

II. Proposed Resolution

Resolution

Whereas, under the Constitution the Republic of the Philippines, sovereignty resides exclusively in the people;

Whereas, under the Constitutions and the laws of the Republic, the citizenry has been empowered to initiate and approve resolutions as a basic means of expressing the sense and opinions of the people, whether on local or national issues;

Whereas, the President of the Philippines, by her actions and behavior, has disgraced her office, cast her position and legitimacy into disrepute, divided her people, and refused all reasonable petitions from the public to be held accountable for her actions;

Whereas, the time has come for the people to reclaim for themselves the power to be heard by those elected into office, from the humblest barangay official to the President of the land;

Now therefore be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, by the people of _________ that we wish it known that,

We, the sovereign Filipino people, do hereby resolve and make it known to all, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo no longer enjoys the trust and confidence of the people, and that we, the people of _________, hereby withdraws our support from her administration.

Note: A resolution for a Constitutional Convention would do just as well.

III. Basis in law

INITIATIVE

Under R. A. No. 6735, initiative is the power to propose and enact legislation through an election called for the purpose. There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely:

a.1 Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution;

(With respect to proposing constitutional amendments by way of initiative, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Miriam Defensor Santiago v. COMELEC that R. A. No. 6735 was inadequate to conduct an initiative on amending the Constitution.)

a.2 Initiative on statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation; and

a.3 Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance,

REFERENDUM

Referendum, on the hand, is the power of the electorate to approve or reject a legislation through an election called for the purpose. It may be of two classes, namely:

c.1 Referendum on statutes which refers to a petition to approve or reject an act or law, or part thereof, passed by Congress; and

c.2 Referendum on local law which refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies.

FORM AND CONTENT OF INITIATIVE

The idea is essentially to put forth a statement of No Confidence on PGMA. In that case, that statement of No Confidence should be in the form of a resolution.

In the case of Garcia v. COMELEC (G. R. No. 111230, September 30, 1994), the issue in this case was whether a resolution can be the subject of an initiative and referendum. The answer of the Court was that a resolution can be the subject of an initiative and referendum. The Court used the congressional deliberations to justify the inclusion of resolutions as subject to initiative and referendum.

As stated in the case, and contrasting it with an ordinance, a resolution is “used whenever the legislature wishes to express an opinion which is to have only a temporary effect while an ordinance is intended to permanently direct and control matters applying to persons or things in general”.

Why emphasize a resolution? Because, a resolution does not have to be issued for the purpose of amending or proposing any law or ordinance. As defined, a resolution is an expression of an opinion. The COMELEC, if it is adversarial to your cause, cannot compel you to justify the relevance of your resolution to any proposed national law. What graver opinion is there than for the entire citizenry to come up with a people’s resolution stating we have no confidence on her.

Thus, the best form to express a No-Confidence Vote is by way of a resolution.

National or Local?

Instead of an all-out national initiative, consider taking a look at conducting a local initiative, i.e., on a per-city, or per-municipality, or per-province basis and coming out with a resolution of no-confidence.

Of course, this would depend greatly on our ability to mount a nationwide referendum. In addition, let us consider that the COMELEC may want to atone for their past sins, but if so, would it be the COMELEC as an institution and the Commissioners or to individual, regional COMELEC officers?

If we are referring to the institution as a whole and the Commissioners wanted to cleanse their image, then by all means, go national. At the very least, it would be the Commissioners themselves fighting to redeem their reputation and would obliquely be assisting us in the endeavor especially, the act of validating the signatures of the registered voters. We would assume that they will provide you the latest voters’ list used in the last elections or a more updated list since there is a continuous voters registration.

But if mounting a nationwide referendum would be difficult (although it would seem that in the PIRMA initiative, before they were stopped by the Supreme Court, they already had 4.2 million signatures out of the threshold 6 million or so required signatures. Incidentally, they had 17 major donors to fund the campaign. The costs have gone up by now), then the clear alternative is to mount a city by city, by municipality and by province initiative.

Will a local initiative still cover a resolution? Absolutely. The Local Government only provides that “Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the sanggunian to enact”. And under the Garcia ruling adverted to above, a resolution is within the legal powers of the sanggunian to enact.

But with respect to its content such as a no-vote confidence vote on the president which seems to be national in scope, It is still justifiable. We have instances of provincial, municipal or city resolutions praising the president or honoring someone who brought glory to our country. We also have local resolutions showing support for the president. If these resolutions can contain matters of national scope, there is no reason why they could not be used to show our dissatisfaction with the president.

But if in the highly unlikely event that it will not be allowed, the loophole, is for the resolution to be couched in a manner linking the no-confidence vote to the difficult economic hardships, or the diminishing peace and order of that particular place: just about any woe they are suffering from can be conceivably related to the continued stay of the president.

Initial Requirement

In the national initiative and referendum, the initial requirement is that: “at least ten per centum (10%) of the total number of the registered voters, of which every legislative district is represented by at least three per centum (3) of the registered voters thereof, shall sign a petition for the purpose and register the same with the Commission. – (Sec. 5 [a] of R. A. 6735)

The Commission shall call and supervise the conduct of initiative or referendum. Within a period of thirty (30) days from receipt of the petition, the Commission shall, upon determining the sufficiency of the petition, publish the same in Filipino and English at least twice in newspapers of general and local circulation and set the date of the initiative or referendum which shall not be earlier than forty-five (45) days but not later than ninety (90) days from the determination by the Commission of the sufficiency of the petition.

In a local initiative and referendum, the initial requirement is: minimum of 1,000 people in provinces or cities, 100 for municipalities can file a petition to propose a resolution before the local legislature and if not acted upon within 30 days, the people will inform the local legislature of their intent to use the power of initiative in which case, you have 90 days for cities and provinces to secure their signatures, 60 days for municipalities and 30 days for barangays. You are required to secure the same number of signatures as the national initiative and referendum.

If the required number of signatures is obtained, the COMELEC shall then set a date for the initiative during which the proposition shall be submitted to the registered voters in the local government unit concerned for their approval within sixty (60) days from the date of certification by the COMELEC, as provided in subsection (g) hereof, in case of provinces and cities, forty-five (45) days in case of municipalities, and thirty (30) days in case of barangays. The initiative shall then be held on the date set, after which the results thereof shall be certified and proclaimed by the COMELEC. (Sec. 122 (h) of the Local Government Code of 1991 [R. A. No. 7160])


Explanatory Notes:

Q. Can a resolution be a subject of an initiative?

A: Yes, under the case of Garcia v Comelec (G. R. No. 111230, September 30, 1994) where the Supreme Court ruled that a resolution can be a subject of an initiative. As basis, they cited the congressional debates on R. A. No. 6735.

Q: Can we propose a resolution even without relation to any local law?

A: Yes, as defined under Sec. 3(a.3) of R. A. No. 6735, initiative on local legislation refers to a “petition proposing to enact regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance”

Q: How is it different from referendum on a local law?

A: As defined under Sec. 3(c.2) of R. A. No. 6735, referendum on local law refers to “a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies”

The procedure for conducting an initiative and referendum was fleshed out in Comelec Resolution No. 2300 issued on January 16, 1991. This resolution was issued in line with R. A. No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Law.

A reading of the Comelec Resolution suggests that a proponent can file a petition for initiative even while the signatures are yet to be gathered and completed. While there are minor differences between a local and a national initiative, the thrust of both procedures encouraged the filing of a petition even without the required signatures.

However, that procedure was declared void in the case of Defensor Santiago v. Comelec (270 SCRA 106). The Supreme Court ruled in that case that:

“Under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution and Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for initiative on the Constitution must be signed by at least 12% of the total number of registered voters of which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein. The Delfin Petition does not contain signatures of the required number of voters. Delfin himself admits that he has not yet gathered signatures and that the purpose of his petition is primarily to obtain assistance in his drive to gather signatures. Without the required signatures, the petition cannot be deemed validly initiated.

The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The petition then is the initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only participation of the COMELEC or its personnel before the filing of such petition are (1) to prescribe the form of the petition; (2) to issue through its Election Records and Statistics Office a certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district; (3) to assist, through its election registrars, in the establishment of signature stations; and (4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters’ affidavits, and voters’ identification cards used in the immediately preceding election.”

While this case declared unconstitutional the procedure of initiative in revising the Constitution, the general principle that the petition must be accompanied by the required signatures applies to local initiative as well because Sec. 4(d) of R. A. No. 6735 provides that like a national initiative, a local initiative is

—deemed validly initiated if the petition therefor is signed by at least ten per centum (10%) of the registered voters in the province or city, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum (3%) of the registered voters therein—

Since the definition of national and local initiative under R. A. No. 6735 are similar in that both are deemed validly initiated only upon the required signatures, this means we cannot file a petition for initiative until we acquire the necessary number of signatures. Once we acquire the required number, we can file the petition with or without the verification from the election supervisor. The certification can come later but we run the risk of having the initiative dismissed if the supervisor rejects most of the voters’ signatures. Hence, the proponents or their representatives must be vigilant in observing the verification.

The safe course is to encourage as many people to sign the petition within the 90 day period even if the signatures already exceed the required number. Since, the supervisors will verify the signatures during the 90 day period, we will immediately know if we reached the threshold or not. If we reached it and the signatures have already been verified, we can proceed with the filing. If not, we mobilize and exhaust the 90 day period.

Roadblocks

1. There is a one-year limitation on initiatives. Similar to an impeachment case, you can only file one initiative a year. So, if the initiative snowballs, the governors of other provinces or pro-GMA congressmen can immediately stymie the process by coming up with their own resolution supporting the president or just come out with any initiative in order to suspend the initiative process for at least one year.

To prevent the process from being hijacked by the other side, the proponents should immediately secure the 1,000 voters to sign the petition. Since the provincial board has 30 days to decide, we can use those 30 days to consolidate the supporters in that province.

It would therefore mean expanding our spheres of testing. I am not so sure that they will even ignore the first few provinces or cities anymore since the president is on the defensive and she needs the public display of support.

2. On the province level, if the provincial election supervisor is close to the governor, the supervisor can reject the voters’ signature or that the signature of the voter appears more than once in the same forms. Hence, vigilance is vital.

3. Since COMELEC in Manila will be informed of the initiative, assuming it is a hostile party, the Comelec or an opponent can oppose the petition in order to:
a. delay the issuance of the certificate of the total numbers of voters in a legislative district;
b. rule that the resolution expressing withdrawal of support from the president is not a valid subject for a resolution (this position is untenable because there are only 2 prohibited measures, namely, the initiative cannot cover more than one subject and statutes involving emergency measures which are reserved only to Congress. Still they may be used);
c. deny the initiative on the ground that the Comelec has yet to issue new rules on initiative in the light of the Defensor Santiago case declaring Comelec Resolution No. 2300 void. (This is not true. The Supreme Court did not declare the entire Comelec Resolution void, only those parts touching on the Constitution;

4. Since the signing of the petition will largely depend on the voters going to the signature stations, the proponents must mobilize the electorate on four occasions: (1) on the first 1000 voters; (2) on the signing of the petition in order for it to go forward; (3) during the special registration to be held 3 weeks before the initiative; and (4) the day of the initiative.

5. The proponents must also watch out that there are no “flying signers”. The proponents may be lulled into believing the big turnout of signers only to discover that the petition was dismissed because of falsified signatures.

6. Lastly, even before the initiative gets going, identify and form the legal team in each province that will fight all the legal dilatory tactics that may be employed.

IV. Procedures

A. ABBREVIATED PROCEDURE FOR A PROVINCIAL INITIATIVE

1. Secure signatures of 1,000 registered voters in case of province and 2,000 registered voters in autonomous regions;

2. File before the Provincial Board a petition proposing the resolution;

3. If no action or unfavorable action by the board, proponents notify the board that it is invoking the power of initiative;

4. Within 90 days from notice to the Board, secure the required number of signatures, which is 10% of the registered voters of the province, with each legislative district having at least 3% of the registered voters signing the petition;
5. As soon as required number of signatures are secured, file with the election registrar, the Petition for Initiative, witnessed by proponent and a provincial board member or their respective representatives;

The petition shall contain as follows:

(a) The preliminary requirement as to the number of signatures of registered voters for the petition;

(b) The submission of the petition to the local legislative body concerned;

(c) The effect of the legislative body’s failure to favorably act thereon, and the invocation of the power of initiative as a consequence thereof;

(d) The formulation of the proposition;

(e) The required period within which to gather the signatures;

(f) Proof of compliance with the required signatures obtained within the mandated period

6. The COMELEC verifies the signatures based on the registry list of voters, voters’ affidavits and voters’ identification cards used in the immediately preceding election. If sufficient in form, COMELEC certifies;

7. COMELEC sets a date for the initiative within 60 days from the date of COMELEC certification;

8. At least 3 weeks before scheduled initiative, COMELEC sets a special registration day;

9. If the resolution is approved by a majority of the votes cast, it shall take effect fifteen (15) days after certification by the COMELEC;

Limitations on Local Initiatives.

a. The power of local initiative shall not be exercised more than once a year.

b. Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the provincial board to enact.

c. If at any time before the initiative is held, the provincial board in toto the proposition presented and the governor approves the same, the initiative shall be canceled. However, those against such action may, if they so desire, apply for initiative in the manner herein provided.

Limitation on the Provincial Board (Sec. 125 – LGC)

The resolution cannot not be repealed, modified or amended by the provincial board within six (6) months from approval, and may be amended, modified or repealed by the board within three (3) years thereafter by a vote of 3/4 of all the provincial board members.

———————————————————————————————

Sec. 11. Indirect Initiative. –

Any duly accredited people’s organization may file a petition for indirect initiative with the provincial board.

The petition shall contain a summary of the chief purposes and contents of the resolution that the organization proposes;

The legislature procedure on the initiative bill shall be the same as any legislative measure except that the initiative bill shall have precedence over the other pending legislative measures on the committee.

(Sec. 11 of R. A. 6735 in relation to Santiago et al., v. COMELEC et al., G. R. No. 127325, March 19, 1997 where it held that indirect initiative applies likewise to local legislative bodies)

Note:

Indirect Initiative is far simpler than an initiative if we can assume that we have a friendly provincial board. It does away with signatures provided that we can secure an accredited people’s organization. The beauty of an indirect initiative is that the initiative takes precedence over other local bills. The bad thing about it is even if the law says it can take precedence, an unfriendly majority whip can still delay the passage.

TIMELINE

a. Pre-October 1 – Secure the signatures of 1,000 registered voters

b. October 1 – Filing of petition for a proposed resolution with the provincial board.

c. October 31 – If no action by the provinicial board, file notice with it that you are invoking the right to a people’s initiative.

d. November 1 to January 29 – 90 days within which to collect the required signatures. This is the maximum period.

e. Unknown time it will take COMELEC to verify and authenticate the signatures. If signatures are in order, COMELEC will certify.

f. Initiative will be held 60 days from COMELEC certification

g. But 3 weeks before initiative, COMELEC will hold a special registration.

B. PROCEDURE FOR A PROVINCIAL INITIATIVE (DETAILED VERSION)

1. At least one thousand (1,000) registered voters in case of provinces and cities or at least 2,000 registered votes in autonomous regions file a petition with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (“provincial board” for ease) proposing the resolution; (Sec. 122(a) – R. A. 7160 [Local Government Code of 1991 `LGC’)

2. When no action or favorable action is taken by the provincial board within 30 days from its presentation, the proponents, through their duly authorized and registered representatives, invoke the power of initiative by notifying the provincial board; (Sec. 122(b) – LGC)

3. The proponents have 90 days from the last day of the provincial board’s non-action (60 days for cities) to collect the required number of signatures, which is 10% of the registered voters of the province or city, with each legislative district having at least 3% of the registered voters signing the petition; (Sec. 122(e) – LGC in relation to Sec. 5(d) of R. A. 6735 [Initiative & Referendum Law])

4. Upon compliance with the required number of signatures and within the required period, 90 days in case of provinces, the proponents shall file the Petition for Initiative in front of an election registrar, or his designated representatives, witnessed by a representative of the proponents, a representative of the provincial board in a public place in the province;

The petition shall contain as follows:

(g) The preliminary requirement as to the number of signatures of registered voters for the petition;

(h) The submission of the petition to the local legislative body concerned;

(i) The effect of the legislative body’s failure to favorably act thereon, and the invocation of the power of initiative as a consequence thereof;

(j) The formulation of the proposition;

(k) The required period within which to gather the signatures;

(l) Proof of compliance with the required signatures obtained within the mandated period (Sec. 122(f) – LGC in relation to Santiago et al., v. COMELEC et al., G. R. No. 127325, March 19, 1997)

5. The COMELEC will verify the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters’ affidavits and voters’ identification cards used in the immediately preceding election and certify whether the required number of signatures has been obtained. (Sec. 122(g) LGC in relation to Sec. 7 of R. A. 6735)

6. If the required number of signatures is obtained, COMELEC shall set a date for the initiative during which the resolution shall be submitted to the registered voters in the province for their approval within sixty (60) days from the date of certification by the COMELEC in case of provinces and cities. (Sec. 122(h) – LGC)

7. The Commission on Elections shall set a special registration day at least three (3) weeks before a scheduled initiative or referendum. (Sec. 6 of R. A. 6735)

8. The initiative shall then be held on the date set, after which the results thereof shall be certified and proclaimed by the COMELEC. (Sec. 122(h) – LGC)

9. If the resolution is approved by a majority of the votes cast, it shall take effect fifteen (15) days after certification by the Comelec as if affirmative action had been made by the provincial board and the governor. If it fails to obtain said number of votes, the proposition is considered defeated. (Sec. 123 – LGC)

Limitations on Local Initiatives. (Sec. 124 – LGC)

d. The power of local initiative shall not be exercised more than once a year.

e. Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the provincial board to enact.

f. If at any time before the initiative is held, the provincial board in toto the proposition presented and the governor approves the same, the initiative shall be canceled. However, those against such action may, if they so desire, apply for initiative in the manner herein provided.

Limitation on the Provincial Board (Sec. 125 – LGC)

The resolution approved shall not be repealed, modified or amended by the provincial board within six (6) months from the date of the approval thereof, and may be amended, modified or repealed by the board within three (3) years thereafter by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of all the provincial board members.

———————————————————————————————
Sec. 11. Indirect Initiative. –

Any duly accredited people’s organization, as defined by law, may file a petition for indirect initiative with the provincial board. The petition shall contain a summary of the chief purposes and contents of the bill that the organization proposes to be enacted into law by the legislature. The procedure to be followed on the initiative bill shall be the same as the enactment of any legislative measure before the provincial board except that the said initiative bill shall have precedence over the other pending legislative measures on the committee.

(Sec. 11 of R. A. 6735 in relation to Santiago et al., v. COMELEC et al., G. R. No. 127325, March 19, 1997 where it held that indirect initiative applies likewise to local legislative bodies)

V. Tactics

A. how to hasten the verification process of the Comelec.

Under the law, Comelec is supposed to verify the signatures upon filing of the petition. But if there are sympathetic regional Comelec officers, they can be asked to authenticate the signatures on a piece-meal basis (an agreed minimum number of secured signatures) while the required number of signatures is being completed. So that once the petition is filed, the signatures to be authenticated will be less by then.

Incidentally, as to the issue whether resolution is the subject of an initiative, I see the relevant portion of the Initiative and Referendum Law, to wit: “a.3 Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance”. Clearly, an initiative can be conducted to propose a resolution.

What is being conducted is an initiative and not a referendum because local referendum, on the other hand, deals with the “petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies.” That is not the purpose of this exercise.

The Comelec bible for initiative is COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 adopted last Jan. 16, 1991.

However, in the case of Defensor Santiago v. Comelec penned by Davide, the Comelec, under that resolution, can verify the signatures already even before the petition is filed. The pertinent portion of the case:

“The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The petition then is the initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only participation of the COMELEC or its personnel before the filing of such petition are:

(1) to prescribe the form of the petition;

(2) to issue through its Election Records and Statistics Office a certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district;

(3) to assist, through its election registrars, in the establishment of signature stations; and

(4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters’ affidavits, and voters’ identification cards used in the immediately preceding election.”

In effect, it is possible hasten the verification of the signatures well before the petition is filed. And even while the provincial board is deliberating on the proposed resolution, an inquiry with the Comelec can be made with respect to item (2) and seek their assistance with respect to item (3).

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  1. cocoy

    just 2.5 million to get the ball rolling? sure? i mean, that’s el cheapo… for a lot of groups.

    this is a good idea you know. i think it will be effective. it will show the proper counter balance to the administration. even if the opposition loses the numbers game, the pr value alone for those of us opposed to how the president is running things to a lot of people… the value would be immense.

    i’m sure the opposition has 2.5M pesos to burn. i mean, how many foundations, ngos, groups, etc. are opposed to how pgma runs things?

    an act by the opposition to do this shows that they are serious. that they are sending a clear message of action to counter the president’s moves. it’s more cost-effective than rallying in the streets. the seriousness of the allegations against pgma can be tested— for her benefit and for the benefit of the truth. it would be fair for her, and fair for those of us expressing our grievances.

    this is an excellent proposition.

  2. mlq3

    well, so far, no luck.

  3. jhay

    Great proposition, now this is democracy.

    To quote my girlfriend; “There is no harm in trying.”

  4. Francis

    The money is actually not problem in the grand plan.. It’s the process that it would have to go through to be a success…

    From my last count all the governors and mayors with high count of voters are supporting GMA (Example is Manila). We are talking of percentage here so GMAs definitely guarding those areas. That alone is a big roadblock.
    MLQ3 is really a great planner everythings been detailed! He also showed that the COMELEC will take it’s time in verifying the signatures(that is the only process that had no specific time of completion.)

    What if we scale it down a bit and have groups to compel their Representatives to support the impeachment by having a signature campaign and submitting it on their front office.

    Someones funding all the statistical surveys (costing millions of pesos) surely they could fund such a drive. Our congresswoman Cong. “Neneng” Nicolas did not support the last impeachment maybe because she felt at that time that her constituents are against the impeachment, although she did not made effort to consult them… or maybe she just consulted her pro-administration and the palace about it.

  5. pinoy

    Why not just impeach her in 2007? First make sure that the election will push through and not the NO EL scenario.

    Campaign, support candidates whose platform it to impeach the president.

    Wouldn’t that be simplier?

  6. Dwarf_In_the_Palace

    I agree with Pinoy.

    We must focus on her IMPEACHMENT and
    let us be aware of those POLITICIANS who
    will be AGAINST the IMPEACHMENT.

    Let’s REMOVE the LAKAS-Party of THIEVES from the
    House. Let’s CLEAN the HOUSE, sweep the PEST

  7. Karl

    If the counter signature campaign won’t lift off….

    What about the plan of opposition congressmen to counter the so called 190 plus signature of the majority for constituent assembly bypassing the senate with the senate already
    reacting with their 20 signatures to counter the move…

    and of course there is the 79 signature target for impeachment…

    It’s all a matter of interests really…..
    as pointed out by MLQ the proponents of a revolutionary government may think that the signature move may be a roadbock to their plans,
    those that support a military junta would also think that their plan is better(related to monsod article)
    and those that want US to save us..there really might be people who went to washington afterall..

    Sad to say ,the only channel to counter the elite has many obstacles that may have been set by the interests of the elite.

  8. Dominique

    I was at our Barang-Ass yesterday. Our governor is sold on the idea and really exerting a lot of pressure on the barangay captains. They’re laying it on pretty thick, and given the fiesta atmosphere, it’s a cinch they’ll get those signatures. Now, how much thought actually went behind those signatures is another story….

    Reactionary mode is hardly sufficient for this concerted and well-funded action. I wonder what else can be done?

    *Barang is Bisaya for kulam. Thanks to Arnie Kapilitan for coining that.

  9. johnmarzan

    my counter proposal to the admin is to amend only the provisions in the constition that limit economic activities.

    yan lang ang scope ng babaguhin sa constitution. i’m not interested in changing our political system or messing with our bill of rights, thank you.

    yan ang alternative na dapat i-presenta ng mga anti-GMA groups.

  10. Francis

    Actually it’s not about constitutional amendments, it’s about legitemacy.

  11. Pol SJS

    >>> CVJ said, March 26, 2006 @ 5:39 pm
    Manolo Quezon III has been proposing an alternative resolution (http://www.quezon.ph/blog/?p=875). Would anyone of you be willing to place your signature on this instead?“>>>
    >>> unicosanjose said, March 26, 2006 @ 7:01 pm
    there’s already a ruling from the Supreme Court, Defensor vs Pirma, if i am not mistaken that says that there is no enabling law, i dont remember congress approving such law… and people’s initiative can only be used for amendments not revisions of the constitution,

  12. polsjs

    Hey! guys, there is a window of opportunity here. Too narrow for the little dictator with a big baggage to escape through, but wide enough for the people’s agenda to get through, we can some great things going:
    SENATOR Edgardo Angara proposed that Congress amend the Constitution but limit the changes to revamping the Commission on Elections and cutting the terms of both President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro to extricate the country from the political morass.
    “If we agree on this with the House, we will file a joint resolution to shorten the term of both the President and Vice President so that it will usher in a fresh election…. Then the question of illegitimacy and mandate will be laid to rest,” Angara told reporters.
    He said the joint resolution would form the basis for amending the Charter, with the amendments “strictly confined to the two propositions.”
    As we can see from the foregoing ideas of these great guys (because they make sense) a combined legislative initiative and people’s initiative, a combined undertaking at each step of the way, could be a breakthrough on the critical impasse!
    “Resolution:
    “Whereas, the time has come for the people to reclaim for themselves the power to be heard by those elected into office, from the humblest barangay official to the President of the land;
    Now therefore be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, by the people of 1st Dist of Paranaque City that we wish it known that,
    We, the sovereign Filipino people, do hereby resolve and make it known to all, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo no longer enjoys the trust and confidence of the people, and that we, the people of 1st District of Paranque City, hereby withdraws our support from her administration.”
    ….. and shall also withdraw our support from our District Representative who will not support the following resolution.”
    …. THAT WE, in conjunction with CONGRESS – the House and the Senate, do hereby file a joint and a PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE resolution to shorten the term of both the President and Vice President so that it will usher in a fresh election….”
    Great! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but before the first step is a thought that became an idea that blossomed into a dream that empowers the people every step of the way. This is the spirit of True People’s Initiative – People being moved and moving towards a common vision.
    Go! People, Go! Marines, Soldiers, Go! Priests, Go! Nuns, Teachers, Go! Students, Youth , Go! Farmers, Fishermen, Laborers, Drivers, Go! People, Go! A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step …

  13. Pol SJS

    The odds against the impeachment complaint was 9:1, next is no better, it’s worse, major witness Zuce was co-opted via admin’s witness corruption program. Note also, Nograles boasts that cha-cha will overtake the next impeachment attempt.
    MLQ3’s initiative must be combined with other initiatives, like Angara’s proposal specially (even) if it gets support in the Senate (at first). This combination of initiatives, because of their solid foundations, would generate a strong movement that would gather momentum that would finally overtake admin’s agenda, and the people would retake power from usurpers.

  14. Observer

    Wouldn’t petitioning members of Congress to support impeachment be more feasible particularly in light of the upcoming elections in 2007?

  15. JB_BAYLON

    Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty?
    I don’t know who still takes PGMA’s speeches at the PMA seriously.

    I suspect Messrs. Ignacio “I have two discs” Bunye, Michael “I have two sound experts” Defensor, Raul “I have two standards of justice” Gonzales and Virgilio “I have two passports” Garcillano do.

    But I don’t. Not after her famous “I will not run” speech, delivered on the hallowed grounds of the PMA a few years ago, which she then not only went back on, but went back on with gusto. By using, in part, graduates of the same PMA to insure her victory.

    Wasn’t that what the Garci tapes and conspiracy were all about?

    And so over the weekend there she was again, the president of the Philippines, warning the cadets of the PMA that she would come down hard on them if they don’t remain loyal. Loyal to her, of course. Never mind that the Constitution calls our soldiers the protector of the “people and the State” – and GMA is neither the people nor the State.

    She tells the soldiers they should stay away from politics – but that doesn’t apply, it seems, to generals, or generals-to-be, who are more than happy to ‘follow the chain of command” by conducting operations in Mindanao during election time. And this, in an academy that mandates its graduates not to “lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.”

    Hmmm….unless that mandate remains valid only for so long as one is a cadet, with all bets off the moment one has been commissioned an officer of the Armed Forces?

    Soldiers should shun politics – amen! But wait! What happens when they feel pressured – by career aspirations, among others – to do the bidding of an appointing power? The result is double-speak, and a damaged credibility to one institution that is supposed to help prop up our democratic society but now appears like it is simply propping up a government with a doubtful provenance. No wonder some of the Marines wanted out one Sunday in February; they, apparently, were witness to the “non-cheating” and “non-partisan” operations done by their officers at the height of the 2004 elections.

    Of course, all in favor of the commander-in-chief.

    Soldiers should shun partisan politics – provided, it appears we are being told now, the partisanship we speak of is the side of the opposition. But when operations are conducted to insure the victory of the incumbent, that is not partisanship.

    That is what is termed “following the chain of command”!

    And that was an important part of the “Hello Garci” conspiracy.

    The Garci conspiracy now is on the verge of being enriched by a second chapter – the Mayuga conspiracy. I say this because it has been almost a year since the Garci tapes surfaced, and we still have to see what the report of Admiral Mayuga contains.

    Remember that Admiral Mayuga was given the unenviable burden of investigating his fellow generals, those whose names were mentioned in the taped conversations between PGMA, Virgilio “I have two passports” Garcillano, and some other characters that Ignacio “I have two discs’ Bunye said was a complete fabrication of the political opposition. But that report has remained under wraps, with the secretary of defense claiming that it will be released only upon instructions of the President – the same president, mind you, who issued Executive Order 464 right before officers were to testify about the cheating in Mindanao.

    Admiral Mayuga, I hope, should be conscious of the fact that more than his career, his reputation as an officer is on the line. If, in the end, his report turns out to be indefensible – or if in its release it appears in a form that becomes indefensible – then he would have become party, even if unwittingly, to the continued conspiracy to deny the Filipino people the truth behind the alleged machinations of the 2004 election canvassing!

    As for PGMA, I suppose she has clearly demonstrated that it takes a tough midsection to be president, especially a president who will use every means just to prove that she is God’s gift to us. Imagine having to ignore the false smiles of people all around her – false smiles from nearly seven out of every ten Pinoys – who believe we will be better off, God’s intentions notwithstanding, without her representing us as our chief executive. That takes guts. That takes “lakas ng loob”.

    Then again it may simply be motivated by fear of what fate lies ahead if her grip slips.

    One more thing I am not aware if PGMA harped on integrity in her speech at the Philippine Military Academy. From all accounts I have read about her (forgettable) remarks, she harped on loyalty, loyalty, loyalty…to her, of course, because in her eyes and in the eyes of her court she IS the State.

    At least she had the good sense NOT to speak of Integrity – as that might have been too much even for the grandstand to bear.

    Maybe that’s it – the highlight of this year’s PMA graduation speech from President Gloria “I am the State” Arroyo is what she did not say – which was all about integrity, integrity, integrity.

    Because between loyalty and integrity we know what this administration values more.

  16. cvj

    mlq3, from polsjs’ comment above, looks like it may be worth it to approach Sen. Angara?

  17. mlq3

    cjv et al., the danger in the angara proposal, at least as explained to me by those skeptical about it, is that it could unwittingly become a trojan horse. the senate would have to agree to a constituent assembly, which, like a constitutional convention, can’t be bound by a predetermined list of amendments. that’s one argument, which i think is far fetched. but another argument is that for the senate to agree to any constituent assembly at this point, opens the door to the house then ramming through its proposed amendments, relying on the majority being calculated as the house plus the senate, and not each house voting separately. this would then result in the case ending up in the supreme court where it could be dribbled until made moot and academic.

    personally, the longer things are kept out of the reach of the house, and the fight taken to each province, the better. this is too important a question to keep bottled up in manila.

  18. skip

    I hope someone in the opposition is sharp enough to pick up on this. That a private citizen like you actually put considerable effort into such a plan buoys up my spirits.
    May I circulate this?

    Mabuhay ka, Manolo!

  19. Vic

    “Have any doubts? The administration’s draft grants the new parliament the discretion as to when to schedule the next elections”>> This quote is from your column titled Rules of the Lawless. I’ll come back of this later.

    In a truly functioning Democracy the Lawmaking body, as representatives voted by the subjects, is the one responsible for making laws on anything including ammendments and changing the constitution as a whole and if the process calls for confirmation or approval by the voters, then the draft, after required debates and deliberations should be submitted to the people in an orderly manner.

    I have studied the proposed draft and compared it to some other system of similar form of Government, I found out some glaring defects, which I already brought to attention to all concern. Here are some of my concern which may or may not be applicable in the conditions of Political climate in the country.

    >> Selection of Prime Minister – In just about every Parliamentary System -the Prime Minister is the Leader of the Party who won the most number of seats, and may form a government as a minority or a majority. As proposed- the PM is to be selected from among the “elected representatives” by the no other than the MPs themselves. This will revert to the old system of “vote for me to the PM office and I’ll return the favour type of old”.

    >>Qualification-Most governments including mine- other than person serving sentences for serious crimes or not having discharged from bankruptcy, just about anyone eligible to vote is eligible to run for Parliament. I believe voters are intelegent enough to know who to vote for.

    >>Now back to the “quote” – Usually the Incoming parliament has a set of period of mandate in which to govern. In a minority(assuming it’s a multi party) the parliament can be be disolved any time by withdrawal of support of any or several parties in support of Government, therby an election is called and a fixed campaign period is set. For a Majority government(one whose member=50%+1) it may call an election within that mandate if it need to pass a major law that maybe so controvertial that debates within the Parliament can not resolve and only a fresh mandate from the electorate could give a clear YES or Nay.

    Charter change may not as bad after all, but change just for the sake of change without studying the longterm implications of such an important documents, and proper process of implementation will just cause more division in a country so divided already. Just my thoughts from far away.

  20. Confused

    Re #19 I have studied the proposed draft and compared it to some other system of similar form of Government, I found out some glaring defects, which I already brought to attention to all concern.

    I don’t get it. What are the glaring defects?

  21. Francis

    The Angara proposal is a big dis-respect to the constitution. Ammending it just to accomodate the current political situation is like saying our basic law of the land is flawed.

    There were provisions in it that could have prevented our current crisis in the first place (incumbent could not run for re-election) which GMA easily circumvented.

  22. Francis

    The same very detailed plan of MLQ3 is being executed by the palace right now to shove the constitutional amendments down to our throat. The NO-EL scenario is a great bargaining chip to join the bandwagon.

  23. Observer

    #21 “There were provisions in it that could have prevented our current crisis in the first place (incumbent could not run for re-election) which GMA easily circumvented.”

    To be accurate, Arroyo didn’t circumvent the rule that the President is not eligible for any re-election. See Art. VII, Sec. 4 of the Constitution.

  24. vic

    Re # 20 The defects that I,( may or may not be considered by others), found as compared to others such as ours (canadian)is the Selection of Prime Minsiter as head of the government. (pls. google search the parliamentary system such as Australia, Canada and Great Britain)
    The other one is the Qualification-Which in the proposal which I had reviewed allows only college graduates to run for the memebership of Parliament. This is already a violation of the right to Equality which I believe should also be included in as one of the main provision of any Charter of any country.

    There were a lot more, and I already submitted them to the proper authorities and commissions, whether the take a look at them or not I may not know. At least I did what I believe on my own was some good points considering that I have been an active participant in our political process here. thank you..

  25. Sonia G. Anicete

    The bedeviled opposition is perhaps hallucinating every now and then on how to unseat PGMA successfully through extra – constitutional means. That it cannot be discounted that the warshock minority led by blaberring Nene Pimentel vociferated their wildest, unlawful redress of grievances such that they demand from here to eternity PGMA to quit to pave way for a snap elections. The vice president, crazy Pimentel and his colleagues pinpointed should also vacate his post so that Frank Drilon would sit in Malacanang as the new head of the government (a.k.a. caretaker) and of course, Pimentel, the minority floor leader, the new vice president.
    Nene is not contented of receiving billions of kickbacks and pork barrel that he hankers after grabbing power in favor of the opposition. He’s bragging about his records during the martial law when he was detained allegedly by Marcos four times on charges of rebellion and/or inciting to sedition. When Ninoy Aquino was laid to rest in August 1983 after being assassinated, he was caught on camera laughing and yacking for reasons still not known until this very day.
    They have already launched a poor people power on May 1, 2001 (Malacanang seige), Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003 and futile impeachment bid July of last year, all of these failed perhaps because their vested interests are not favored by the Lord himself. (See, ni isang rally nila walang nagtagumpay! Bigo lahat. Namatay na yung manok nilang si FPJ, what are they waiting for? Disasters and natural calamities to exterminate and liquidate us all?) They have even connived with the extremists to assasinate PGMA and form a junta, which is very bloody and will cause the country to sink six feet under the ground, bellow sea level. Dinky Soliman who’s Black and White movement are crying for oppression merely wants promotions. (Except for the idolized Professor Randy David who is qualified to run in the Senate, none of them is doing rightfully – everyone is driven to wrongfully accuse the administration with hearsays and other flawed expressions of disgust!)
    Far from that, the belligerent fiscalizers in Congress also resorted to moves outside of the Charter so that the people’s initiative would be blocked and shift to federal – parliamentary system would eventually be dislodged. You could ever imagine how hopeless these hypocrites are. The gangrened 1987 Charter provides that a “people’s initiative could be jumpstarted with the consent of at least five million signatures gathered from barangay assemblies to effect specific changes to the provisions of the Constitution.” DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez is precisely in a rightful position to assert that “plural with s” and not singular ‘was stated articulately in the constitution’ – pertaining to “changes” contrary to the claim of purported law dean – turned – guru destabilizer Joaquin Bernas.
    I still don’t get the unadulterated point why in hell the disunited opposition are crying to sow discord and annihilate socio – politico economic progress through coup attempts, public mobilization and filibustering. All they’re doing is wasting taxpayers’ money and plunging the nation into deep, serious trouble. They’re comparing the legitimate orders of the President in a Marcosian style, which is already past, long bygone. How dare these disillusioned, outdated and traditional politicians speak with authority when their views are already outdated, inapplicable and useless? They should instead be futuristic, looking onwards, on how to revise the roten Constitution so that their children and grandchildren will benefit in the years to come.
    They should get rid of that legitimacy issue, having wiretapped conversations and unsubstantiated documents to prove election fraud. May 2004 has already passed and Fernando Poe Jr whom they claimed the real winner has already been burried. Likewise Raul Roco. What are they tring to claim? That their witnesses are backing out, litle by litle, and they could not even summon Joc – joc Bolante whom they charged of malversation for that fertilizers scam. Well, they must conduct their own homework and think of tomorrow for their own posterity, for the sake of the nation, for the sake of everybody. Otherwise, if we continue to live in the past, and ressurect those never – ending lapses of human imperfection, wala talaga tayong patutunguhan. Why not try to legislate vital bills and pass immediately the 2006 budget. You see, the upperhouse legislators who are supposed to be the representatives of the people, especially the poor, are running amuck to paralyze our growth as a nation.
    Finally, the small town lotery (STL) pushed through by DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno and Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor is intended so that those former jueteng kobradores and collectors would have employment and can feed their own families and not become salot sa lipunan. Would these legislators crave that these people will eat each other’s flesh or launch a civil war because of their boiling stomach? My God naman! The fact that STL is regulated under the supervision of the State (unlike during Erap’s time when funds personally went to his wife Loi, his Muslim Youth foundation, delivered to him and his sons Jinggoy, and his cohorts, cronies and alipores including Tessie Aquino – Oreta and John Osmena)could justify this. Further, the money well go to National Treasury to fund for beneficial programs and projects for the people, among other things.
    What the solons must do is to rally behind the reforms our government is doing to uplift the lives of the poor and to ensure that the peso – dollar exchange rate would be stabilized as far as $1 = P30. If posibble $1 = P1. And when that happens, we can pay our foreign debts because the currency rate would have provided indulgence, so to speak, that the P3.03 Trillion would have been lowered. The prices of basic commodities would also be much afordable for public consumption and increase in government wages would never come to pass, thus discouraging graft and red tape.
    Mga pulitiko, pls lang, gumising na kayo sa hallucination at schizophrenia!

  26. John Glen A. Platil

    This is my message to the desperado rivals of PGMA, whose bedeviled interests are truly obstrusive to our growth and development as a nation:
    1. Can’t the evil opposition understand that chagrined President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo is working hard, working harder and working hard like she has never worked before amid the meager resources of our country?
    2. Can’t the warshock, illogical and insane Black and White movement, communist – military junta plotters and PGMA assasination brains realize that PGMA doesn’t have 4.4 Billion Jose VElarde account, is not a drunkard, is not womanizing, is not sleeping in Malacanang and is not inept? PGMA doesn’t even have BW stocks scandal, PAGCOR and PCSO scams, Textbook and Jueteng payola as compared to the demon predecessor ERap Estrada who should be gunned down in Luneta because ” inubos niya ang kabang bayan at minolestiya na ang mamamayang Pilipino!”
    3. All the destabilizers should be penalized through capital punishment via lethal injection. “Yang si Gringo Honasan na nagsagawa ng 7 – 9 bloody coups at kanyang mga kaakibat na mga komunista at mga rebeldeng Magdalo soldiers, dapat igarote o kaya ifiring squad para magtanda. Kaya umaabuso yan sila dahil soft ang administration.”
    4. What is Cory Aquino doing anyway? Matapos imasaker sa Hacienda Luisita and Mendiola ang mga kawawang magsasaka at si Lean Alejandro, matapos lumubog ang ekonomiya dahil sa palpak at bobo niyang pamamalakad, sa mga policies niya na walang nadulot na maganda, magsasalita siya ngayon. How dare you, kuripot? Ni kakarampot lang yung nag – iinvest at yung benefits sa gobyerno during her tenure! Walang peace and stability, grabeng insurgency at patayan, yan ba ang legacy ni Cory?
    5. Sinong ipapalit kay PGMA, aber! Kung sila – sila pa rin, buti pa magpatayan na lang tayo, baka lulubog ang kabuhayan ng bansa. Kung ako sa mga desperadong kalaban ni PGMA sa pulitika na naglalayon pang iasassinate siya, magpatiwakal na lang sila. They are spending taxpayers’ money just to propel unrest, bring down our republic and be expert of massive grandstanding, politicking, bickering and Senate inquiries of scams after scams. Yan sila magaling. Sila palas mga diyablo, walang mga hiya!
    6. Nandiyan pa yang mga irresponsableng journalists. Look at U.S. on how they criticize the BUsh administration. Look at United Kingdom, on how Tony Blair is criticized. It’s too different compared to the belligerent Philippines. Mga self – righteous kasi karamihan.
    7. Patay na si FPJ at Roco. Civil war na lang if and when ganyan din lang. Eleksiyon pa rin, 2004 pa yun. Ang tagal – tagal na! Mas maraming problema ang bayan: widespread poverty, calamities after calamities, etc.
    8. Alam nyo, dahil sa walang katapusang bangayan sa pulitika, sasalantain talaga ng mga kalunus – lunos at kagimbal – gimbal na mga trahedya ang Pilipinas. Don’t you forget, we are at the heart of the Pacific Ring of Fire, any minute now, our country will disappear from the map of the world and of Asia! By April to August 2006, the onset of La Nina according to PAGASA will really destroy several places in the country. Sige, mag – impeachment kayo. Hindi na kayo nakontento sa mga bilyones ninyo, sa public funds at pork barrel ninyo, sa posisyon ninyo, gusto pa kayong mang – agaw ng kapangyarihan.
    9. Sabing mag charter change na to arrest underdevelopment, overpopulation and impoverishment nang makahabol na tayo sa mga progressive countries – shift to federal – parliamentary, now! Revive death penalty law for heinous offenders and legislative measure on birth control!
    John Glenn A. Platil
    University of the Philippines, Diliman

  27. cvj

    In hindsight, it looks like Austero has done us a favor by inoculating us against the likes of Anicete & Platil. Reminds me of something Imee Marcos recently said about GMA’s PP1017.

  28. Francis

    Dear Mr. Platil,

    I can only agree on you to have a legislative measure on birth control.

    Francis Verana,
    One of the many victims of vote robbery

  29. JCastro

    Sonia — the opposition is “hallucinating” on extra-constitutional means of unseating GMA because the issues bedeviling her arise from her alleged “extra-constitutional” means of winning elections and staying in power. Since GMA has succeeded in pitting the House against the Senate, and since she has appointed the majority of those sitting in the Supreme Court, it looks like GMA is pretty much in control. What space do you think does the opposition have to effect laws and societal change in a constitutional, orderly manner?

    John Glen — you just about lumped all opposition together under a single category — the “warshock, illogical and insane”. In certain portions, you brand them as di na makuntento, gusto lang kapangyarihan, diyablo. Kulang na lang ilagay mo na nagmomolestiya sila ng bata, at sumisipa ng kuting. LOL.

  30. mlq3

    vic, i’d appreciate a copy of your comments re: parliamentarism.

  31. Jeg

    Is it just me or is there something inherently oxymoronic with a government-sponsored people’s initiative? If the government is spearheading their charter change campaign (using our money), isnt that against the spirit of what a people’s initiative is all about? I think there is sufficient grounds to challenge this GMA-led “people’s initiative” in court.

  32. Jon Mariano

    I have mentioned it before; the administration is bullying its way to anything they want to happen. This so-called people’s initiative is just one more issue. It’s not just you Jeg, what’s happening is not a peoples’ initiative but a government initiative using “people’s initiative” to ram charter change into our throats.

  33. vic

    “Is this not a violation of the BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS?? The Right To Equality..this is an elitist proposal and I believe any educated person would not even dare think of. LET THe VOTERS DECIDE WHO THEY WANT TO REPRESENT THEM THAT THEY BELEIVE BEST among the candidates or the candidates of the Party they want to run the Government. Once the Great Nation of Great Britain was ruled by Elitist, by Royal Blood, now even Elementary Dropouts can become Britain PM (John Major), so is the Great Country they Call The US of A. Here in the True North Strong and Free, we have qualifications to run for Parliament and it is succint and clear. Quote “To qualify as candidate for Parliament, you must be an ELIGIBLE VOTER AT ELECTION DAY” Unquote. And we are a FIRST world country. The Electoral Commissioner would not even allow any title to be included in candidate’s name lest it will discriminate those who has none. That my friend is fairness to all. Nation building is never a duty a COLLEGE GRADUATES alone (go tell it Bill Gates and Steve Jobs). It is the duty of everyone. From streetside vendor to the LEADER OF THE LAND. If YOU DON’T get this still, I can only cry for that beautifull country which was plundered and raped by her very own PEOPLE.”
    ————————————————————

    mlq3, above is a copy of my letter to the con-com regarding the proposed provision on qualifications of candidates for membership in the Parliament which requires at least a college graduate among others. I’ll post the other, regarding the selection of PM on the next one. can’t figure how to do both. thanks

  34. homer

    what good will it do us if the successor is thesame. dont u realize, we are all pawns of this powergrabbing. no one cares for Philippine democracy. it’s not like we’re in martial law, its not like that. Why dont we just take for granted that our leaders are corrupt and that there’s nothing we can do about it. not in a hundred yrs. ZzZzZz

  35. vic

    mlq3, here another letter regarding the installation of the PM in our Paliamentary system. At the Moment we have four major political parties representing 302 members. The conservative party is now in Minority government, the liberal is the official loyal opposition and the new democrats and the parti quebecois are the other two oppositions. Since the conservative is holding only l29 seats-far below the 50%+1 majority it has to govern with the support of any or all of the opposing parties to pass necessary legislations. Such government may have to call for an election any time within its five years mandate or as soon as being defeated in passing major legislation, such as budget. Also the opposition could introduce a no confidence motion, but they have to have good reason, otherwise the voters will return a minority into a majority. And lastly the party quebecois only field candidates in the province of quebec and only for the goal of eventually- together with provincial govt. of quebec at the right moment will try again to attempt to bring quebec out of confederation. and here’s the letter.
    ————————————————————- ——————————————————
    “To elect the Prime Minister from among the Members elected and no less by the whole parliament itself is to defeat the essence of Parliamentary system. In any Parliamentary system in the whole world, the Prime Minister is the Leader of the Governing Party. either as a majority or a minority government. And that party Leader is chosen by the Party membership by the Process as decided by the Party. That way the Voters is installing a government of the party they believe best meet their aspirations and the well being of the whole nation. You are trying to get away from leader by Personality which has caused the political system in the country a JOKE and now you are proposing something more of a JOKE. This proposal alone will sink the whole reform, because, it will go back to influence peddling “vote me to the PM Office and I’ll return the Favour type of Old. Before you put this proposal before the Filipino People take a Look at the system of the Parliamentary System Of Government in Places where It works. e.i.Canada, Australia and some developing countries where it also work just as well. Merci”

  36. Jon Mariano

    Re #34. Being quite is definitely an option. You’re free to do that.

    However, if you compare the same situation we are in today to that of a lady being raped by a powerful man. Are you going to tell her to just keep still because whatever she does will not do anything good anyway? Yelling is one of the best ways to prevent rape. So if you think you’re being raped of your rights, yelling/protesting is not a useless thing to do. It is something that you can actually do, even if there are no positive results at least you tried and let your thoughts/ideas known.

  37. baycas

    to mother and son, sonia and john glen:

    i salute you on your convictions. i admire people who are either “black” or “white” (pardon my plugging of a current movement).

    please try to reread and reevaluate our situation right now. legitimacy issue will not flit away just like that. it’s the root of the problem. we’re only experiencing the signs and symptoms of the root-cause.

    the syndrome of patronage politics may date back a hundred years, way beyond our lifetime, and possibly every politician is guilty of this syndrome. the main difference is that gloria was caught and she is haunted by her past sins which are now glaring at us but persistently she is trying hard to cover-up.

    when a leader governs without the trust and confidence of the governed, chaos will surely reign. our never-ending divisiveness will be as it is…forever. unless the cause is addressed, the treatment of the disease will not take place.

    i am sorry but i firmly believe gloria lost her ability to lead http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=661#comment-19262 . in truth, most likely, she is now a lame duck…hostaged by the institutions she very well corrupted.

    i was teasing my wife yesterday…LYING is a ground for annulment…no, i didn’t lie to her, neither did she…but perhaps i may apply this on the marriage of the one who governs and the governed, for gloria’s lies annulled such marriage.

  38. polsjs

    cvj wrote on March 27th, 2006 at 12:34 am

    mlq3, from polsjs’ comment above, looks like it may be worth it to approach Sen. Angara?

    MQ3 wrote on March 27th, 2006 at 12:54 am
    “cjv et al., the danger in the angara proposal,….. a trojan horse… a constituent assembly…ramming ..proposed amendments, .. and not each house voting separately..in the supreme court where it could be dribbled until made moot and academic… this is too important a question to keep bottled up in manila.”

    Thanks CVJ, MLQ3 ,
    Approaching the Senator straightforwardly and in full transparency, albeit very, very prudently, in a way that safeguards the integrity of the initiative, is worth considering, but if it jeopardizes, in any way, the credibility of the initiative then, perhaps, the initiative proponent/facilitor/catalyzers can just go ahead and ‘just do it.’ The idea/initiative can be more credible, perhaps more powerful ( and even intriguing as “V”) without any name/personality attached to it except, perhaps, Juan dela Cruz, Citizen of the Republic of the Philippines; and instead give it its own name like “People’s Inititiative para sa Pagababago”, “ Pagbabago ng Bayan”(to over-ride, not just counter, Sigaw ng Bayan).
    An honest-to-goodness idea/solution/vision can have a galvanizing effect on the common citizens. Actually, a better term for P.I. is Citizens’ Initiative that promotes ‘Citizenhood’ – non-partisan, non-ideological citizens’ involvement and participation on local/national issues/concerns via/through the institutions/venues provided by/according to the constitution.

    Agree.ConAss is a trap.
    But we’re trapped somehow. Where’s the key/way out?

  39. Pol SJS

    cvj wrote on March 27th, 2006 at 12:34 am
    mlq3, from polsjs’ comment above, looks like it may be worth it to approach Sen. Angara?
    MQ3 wrote on March 27th, 2006 at 12:54 am
    cjv et al., the danger in the angara proposal,….. a trojan horse… a constituent assembly…ramming ..proposed amendments, .. and not each house voting separately..in the supreme court where it could be dribbled until made moot and academic… this is too important a question to keep bottled up in manila.
    Thanks CVJ, MLQ3 ,
    Approaching the Senator straightforwardly and in full transparency, albeit very, very prudently, in a way that safeguards the integrity of the initiative, is worth considering, but if it jeopardizes, in any way, the credibility of the initiative then, perhaps, the initiative proponent/facilitor/catalyzers can just go ahead and ‘just do it.’ The idea/initiative can be more credible, perhaps more powerful ( and even intriguing as “V”) without any name/personality attached to it except, perhaps, Juan dela Cruz, Citizen of the Republic of the Philippines; and instead give it its own name like “People’s Inititiative para sa Pagababago”, “ Pagbabago ng Bayan”(to over-ride, not just counter, Sigaw ng Bayan).
    An honest-to-goodness idea/solution/vision can have a galvanizing effect on the common citizens. Actually, a better term for P.I. is Citizens’ Initiative that promotes ‘Citizenhood’ – non-partisan, non-ideological citizens’ involvement and participation on local/national issues/concerns via/through the institutions/venues provided by/according to the constitution.

    Agree. Con-ass is a trap. But, the Senator’s proposal is a joint resolution. Agree there could be a witting or witting Trojan horse somewhere in/near/around Congress or anywhere where politicians are, anyway.

  40. Pol SJS

    MLQ3,CVJ,

    On “institutionalizing people power”, how is it vis-a-vis

    “Citizenhood’ – non-partisan, non-ideological citizens’ involvement and participation on local/national issues/concerns via/through the institutions/venues provided by/according to the constitution.”

    after writing this, and inspired by your hope in the common Filipino, and also, picking up the sentiments of

    skip who wrote on March 27th, 2006 at 1:06 am

    “I hope someone in the opposition is sharp enough to pick up on this. That a private citizen like you actually put considerable effort into such a plan buoys up my spirits.
    May I circulate this?

    Mabuhay ka, Manolo! ”

    I had just created a blog “Citizen Bloggers Conference of the Philippines” at http://icbcp.blogspot.com/ which I would like to turn over to a teamblog. MLQ3, CVJ? Salamat.

  41. mlq3

    pol sjs, congratulations. i think i’m too partisan to head this, but i’d be glad to contribute. you might want to take some time to contact atty-at-work, big mango, and [email protected]. they’re all interested in this kind of discussion, big mango and i were thinking of a wiki to explore certain ideas. your group blog might just be the key.

  42. Pol SJS

    MLQ3, Salamat, will do. Anyway, nobody can really be too partisan for truth, and perhaps for the constitution too. Have you heard of “Citizen Cane?” am not too familiar with it, but Citizen Juan I seem to know more of, and the global neghbors are wondering how the ‘smiling’ Filpinos are now one of the “unhappiest” people on the planet.

  43. jm

    mlq3,

    The initiative you had presented should have been undertaken at the time — tamang oras at paraan. GMA’s continued stay costs more than many realize. The damage she wreaks on our institutions which took generations to build is unquantifiable.

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