Salceda Defends Speaker’s Support for People’s Initiative to Amend the Constitution

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ALBAY 2nd District Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” Salceda recently defended Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s expression of support for a people’s initiative (PI) as a means to amend the 1987 Constitution. This statement has sparked discussions and inquiries regarding the role of the House of Representatives in this process.

Salceda clarified that the House recognizes the People’s Initiative as a fundamental democratic process, explicitly citizen-driven and enshrined in the Philippine Constitution. It allows Filipinos to directly propose amendments to the constitution, independent of congressional action. Speaker Romualdez’s support for this democratic exercise emphasizes its importance in resolving current constitutional debates.

However, it is essential to understand that the House’s support does not imply direct participation or control in the People’s Initiative process. The envisioned role of the House of Representatives, according to Speaker Romualdez, is to encourage public discourse and awareness regarding constitutional amendments. Their aim is to ensure that citizens are well-informed and engaged in the democratic processes that shape the nation.

Salceda emphasized that Romualdez and members of the House are committed to upholding democratic principles. This commitment includes providing the necessary support for a transparent and inclusive process that allows every Filipino to participate meaningfully in shaping the nation’s destiny.

Opposition to Constitutional Amendments through People’s Initiative

Meanwhile, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) has joined opposition lawmakers in their attempts to block moves to amend the Constitution through people’s initiative. FFW National President Sonny Matula stated that affiliate groups are ready to join the national initiative to file a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) or the Supreme Court. Their aim is to challenge the legality of the proposed “tinkering” to insert “joint voting” through a PI, as it constitutes a substantial alteration to the fundamental law of the land.

Matula’s statement aligns with Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd and Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman’s action to question the proposed charter amendment before the high court. Senators have also signed a manifesto opposing the ongoing PI campaign.

The FFW argues that the House’s push for joint voting of the Senate and the House of Representatives to modify the nation’s supreme law constitutes a revision. They believe that such a change would result in a substantial or structural shift in the balance of power between both chambers. The House of Representatives would overpower the Senate through numerical superiority in the deliberation and voting process.

In conclusion, the support for the People’s Initiative in amending the Philippine Constitution stems from the belief in a fundamental democratic process that allows citizens to directly propose amendments. The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Romualdez, aims to foster public discourse and awareness regarding constitutional amendments. However, opposition groups, such as the FFW, express concerns about the potential implications of these amendments and seek legal recourse to challenge their legality. As the discussions continue, it is crucial to ensure transparency, inclusivity, and adherence to democratic principles throughout the constitutional amendment process.

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Source: The Manila Times

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