Imee Marcos’ Efforts to Salvage UniTeam by Reaching Out to Dutertes

Sen. Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos PHOTO BY: RENE H. DILAN
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SEN. Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos has recently expressed her determination to salvage the UniTeam, an election alliance formed by Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte in 2002. Amid reports of internal conflicts within the UniTeam, Senator Marcos has announced her intention to engage in a dialogue with former president Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Sara Duterte during her visit to Davao City on Friday.

As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, Senator Marcos is currently conducting hearings on allegations of bribery, deception, and other illegal activities related to the collection of signatures for the people’s initiative (PI) to pursue Charter change (Cha-cha). The committee initiated its inquiry on January 30, and Senator Marcos aims to continue these discussions in Davao City.

In a television interview, Senator Marcos candidly expressed her commitment to salvaging the UniTeam, stating, “Let me be candid. I will do anything to salvage the UniTeam.” She further emphasized her role as the author of the UniTeam and her efforts to bring Vice President Duterte on board as the running mate of her brother, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

While acknowledging the challenges faced by the UniTeam, Senator Marcos highlighted that the Dutertes’ unity with the Marcos administration should not be oversimplified. She referred to Vice President Duterte’s statement expressing gratitude to the President for his support and her continued commitment to the eight-point agenda. Senator Marcos believes that the interference of external pressures, influences, and politicians has been a significant factor contributing to the current situation.

In addition to addressing the internal conflicts within the UniTeam, Senator Marcos emphasized the need for legislation to establish a legal framework for people’s initiative. The Supreme Court’s decision on the Santiago vs Commission on Elections case highlighted the absence of provisions for people’s initiative as a method for Charter change in the Initiative and Referendum Act (Republic Act 6736). Senator Marcos proposed the creation of a law through thorough deliberations and debates to ensure that any people’s initiative is properly executed.

The upcoming deliberations on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6, which aims to amend the “restrictive” economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, will provide an opportunity to address this issue. Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara will lead a Senate subcommittee on February 5 to discuss RBH 6. Senator Marcos envisions a people’s initiative that involves consultation with the public and addresses their concerns.

During the January 30 hearing, Noel Oñate, the convenor of People’s Initiative for Reform, Modernization, and Action (Pirma), confirmed that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and other congressmen assisted in gathering signatures to support Cha-cha. However, on January 23, all 24 senators signed a manifesto denouncing the House’s alleged attempt to violate the Constitution through people’s initiative. They opposed a proposed amendment that would require joint voting in a constituent assembly.

In conclusion, Senator Imee Marcos is determined to salvage the UniTeam and restore unity within the alliance. Her upcoming dialogue with former president Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Sara Duterte in Davao City aims to address the internal conflicts and find common ground. Additionally, she recognizes the importance of establishing a legal framework for people’s initiative to ensure its proper execution. As discussions on RBH 6 unfold, Senator Marcos envisions a people’s initiative that is consultative and responsive to the concerns of the Filipino people.

Source: The Manila Times

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