House bill seeks enabling law for people's initiative

House bill seeks enabling law for people's initiative Featured

Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman has filed a measure aiming to be the enabling law for a people's initiative to effect changes in the 1987 Constitution.  

In House Bill 9868, which shall be known as the “Enabling Law on People’s Initiative to Propose Directly Amendments to the Constitution,” Lagman said only amendments and not revisions shall be allowed.

 An amendment, as defined in the proposed bill, “entails a simple or singular change, alteration or deletion of a word, phrase or provision in the Constitution which does not affect or impact on the system or form of government as well as on ideals or principles underlying the Constitution.”

 A revision, on the other hand, is defined as a “thorough or radical change in the form or system of government institutionalized in the Constitution” which shall be done through a constituent assembly or a constitutional convention.

 The bill specifies that a petition for people’s initiative to be filed with the Commission on Elections shall state what the proposed amendment is and the justifications for the proposal.

The signatures of 12% of the total number of registered voters in the country, as well as 3% of registered voters per legislative district shall be required in filing the petition.

The bill requires that the signature forms are signed by the voter in the presence of an election officer or the EO’s representative.

Anyone opposed to the petition may file an opposition with the Comelec 15 days after the petition for PI is published.

Lagman, in his explanatory note, said RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act can only be used by the people to enact or repeal a local ordinance or a national statute.

He explained that the said law “is inadequate as a compliant legislation for the effective exercise of people’s initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution.”

He cited the Santiago vs Comelec case where the Supreme Court said RA 6735 is “inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments under the Constitution” and that this inadequacy cannot be cured by a resolution from the Commission on Elections.

Lagman stressed that this ruling was not reversed in the succeeding case of Lambino vs Comelec.

House Bill 9868 has undergone first reading and has been referred to the Committee on Constitutional Amendments. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News

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Read 483 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 February 2024 00:29
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