House of Representatives backpedals, for the moment, on its constituent assembly scheme. Too unseemly to force it through? Or a bigger chance for a big vote, as the President can leverage pork barrel releases to oppositionists from devastated provinces? Or do they know something about the Supreme Court’s coming decision no one else does?
But the Supreme Court insists the vote-counting machines can’t be used, period.
Read the Ombudsman’s report to the Supreme Court:
OMB-Supplemental-Resolution-on-the-Mega-Pacific-Case-September-27-2006.doc. Palace trying to slither away from it.
Ambassadorial appointments in disarray. Heard scuttlebutt that the Philippine consul-general in Jeddah is wildly unpopular among Filipinos there and is due to be replaced.
CBCP condemns murder of Aglipayan bishop.
In the punditocracy, I have to two columns today. My Arab News column for this week is Suffrage for Overseas Filipino Workers (see for the survey on overseas Filipinos). My Inquirer column for today is Konfrontasi (see the Orwell chapter I quoted).
John Mangun writes on corporate social responsibility -and billboards.
I’d like to reproduce the initial findings of One Voice’s lawyers, along with some documentation:
Initial findings reveal flaws, fake signatures in Sigaw’s petition – One Voice
An election officer in Jose Abad Santos, Davo del Sur certified in its report on the signature campaign submitted to the Commission on Elections that “most signatures are fabricated.”
In the first congressional district of Davao City, Acting Election Officer IV Reynee Joy B. Bullecer certified that “it appeared that of the TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED THIRTY-FOUR (24,734) individuals, only TWENTY TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR (22,124) individuals are found to be REGISTERED VOTERS, in the Computerized Voters List of the FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, DAVAO CITY.”
These form part of the initial discoveries made by lawyers opposed to a fake people’s initiative during the first few hours of their visit to the Commission on Election’s law department where all the Sigaw ng Bayan documents are being kept.
The Supreme Court directed the Comelec to allow the opposing legal counsels to examine the documents submitted by Sigaw ng Bayan to the Commission on Elections during the oral arguments held last September 26.
“We are confident that the Supreme Court will acknowledge that the gathering of these signatures was really a tainted process,” One Voice legal counsel Atty. Carlos Medina of the Ateneo School of Law’s Human Rights Center said.
According to Atty. Neri Colmenares, some of the election officers verified to the number of individuals found to be registered voters, not the signatures submitted.
Atty. Abigail Binay, on the other hand, examined the signature sheets submitted for Makati City with double entries of names, signature of voter’s that don’t exist in the city’s voters’ registration list, among other discrepancies.
“What we have here is a collection of signatures, not a genuine people’s initiative,” Atty. Medina of One Voice said, adding that the proposed changes to the Constitution were not even attached to the signature sheets submitted to the Commission on Elections.
Initial findings of the opposing counsels are as follows:
‘ A number of certificates submitted by election officers verified not the signatures but the names in the list as corresponding to names in the voters’ registration lists.
‘ Some certificates did not state that the 3% requirement per legislative district was met.
‘ One election officer remarked that most signatures were fabricated which is supported by the signature sheets from Makati City that revealed many signatures disowned by the voters themselves.
‘ One legislative district was guided by the 2004 voters’ registration list while a different municipality relied on a more recent voters’ list.
‘ The petition containing the proposed constitutional changes was not attached to each of the signature sheets submitted to the Comelec.
The legal panel arguing against the People’s Initiative of Sigaw ng Bayan will attach all their findings with a corresponding explanation to the memorandum that they would be submitting to the Supreme Court.
“I wish we were given more time to go over each and every box, and every certificate. Based on our initial findings, we have no doubt that we have here a spurious initiative governed by a non-existent process for all the wrong reasons,” Atty. Medina stressed.
The opposing legal counsels are scheduled from Wednesday until Friday to examine the documents. Representatives of Sigaw ng Byan were also present during the examinations.