Pirma’s Collaboration with Romualdez for Cha-cha Signature Campaign and TV Ad Expenditure

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. Photo from House of Representatives of the Philippines FB page
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In an effort to pursue Charter change (Cha-cha), the People’s Initiative for Reform, Modernization, and Action (Pirma) has announced its collaboration with Speaker Martin Romualdez and other members of the House of Representatives. This development was confirmed during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, chaired by Senator Maria Josefe Imelda “Imee” Marcos. The committee was investigating allegations of pay-offs or bribery in the collection of signatures for the people’s initiative.

Pirma convenor, Noel Onate, revealed that he sought the assistance of Speaker Romualdez to gather the required three percent signature per congressional district for the amendment of the 1987 Constitution through a people’s initiative. Onate emphasized that while Romualdez and other House members provided support, Pirma remained at the forefront of the initiative.

To promote Cha-cha, Pirma invested over P55 million in television advertisements. Onate acknowledged that the majority of the funds came from his own resources, with the remaining amount contributed by supporters through donations. However, during the hearing, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd requested Onate to disclose the identities of the other donors, particularly accounting for P27.5 million.

Onate expressed hesitation in revealing the names, citing concerns about losing face. However, Senator Marcos compelled him to submit the names of the additional Pirma donors. This request was made to ensure transparency and accountability in the initiative.

In a separate aspect of the hearing, testimonies from witnesses in Quezon City and Bukidnon shed light on the promises made to individuals who signed the petition. These witnesses stated that they were offered “ayuda” (aid) in exchange for their signatures.

It is important to note that the success of the people’s initiative for Charter change depends on gathering the required number of signatures from each congressional district. This process aims to amend the 1987 Constitution, potentially impacting various aspects of governance and legislation. The collaboration between Pirma, Speaker Romualdez, and other House members signifies a significant step forward in this endeavor.

However, the allegations of pay-offs and promises of aid raise concerns about the integrity of the signature collection process. The Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, under the leadership of Senator Marcos, plays a crucial role in investigating these allegations and ensuring that the people’s initiative operates within the bounds of the law.

As the discussions on Charter change continue, it is essential to consider the implications of such amendments on the nation’s political landscape, economy, and society. The involvement of key stakeholders, such as Pirma, Speaker Romualdez, and the House of Representatives, highlights the significance of this initiative and its potential impact on the future of governance in the Philippines.

In conclusion, the collaboration between Pirma, Speaker Romualdez, and other House members in gathering signatures for the people’s initiative for Charter change marks a significant development in the ongoing discussions on constitutional amendments. While concerns regarding alleged pay-offs and promises of aid have emerged, the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation is actively investigating these claims to ensure transparency and accountability. As this process unfolds, it is crucial for all stakeholders to engage in informed discussions and consider the potential implications of any proposed changes to the Constitution.

Source: The Manila Times

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