SIGAW ng Bayan has reiterated its position against a bicameral parliament, saying huge amounts of government funds are wasted because of gridlocks in the present legislature.

The group, which is set to file a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on a plebiscite for a shift to a parliamentary system of government, today placed advertisements in dailies calling for support for its “people’s initiative” for charter change.

“So that the Filipino people will not be misled and misinformed, here is what we mean when we say: Abolish the Senate and the House of Representatives,” said the group. “Since the 13th Congress was inaugurated, 51 bills of national application and 708 bills of local application already approved by the House of Representatives have been gathering dust for months in the Senate.”

The group said the Senate’s “inaction” on those measures, “majority of which are urgent, is an absolute waste of people’s money.” It quoted newspaper reports saying the cost of each law enacted by the two chambers of Congress is almost P700 million.

It then gave a list of which legislative measures have not been passed by the Senate, including the General Appropriations Act of 2006, the anti-terrorism bill, and the Omnibus housing act.

There is one “inescapable conclusion,” said the group: “It’s time to shift the country to a parliamentary government and a unicameral parliament.”

According to a decision issued by the Supreme Court in 1997, an enabling law must first be passed by Congress before the people’s initiative can be used as a means to change the charter. The high tribunal in that ruling said the Initiative and Referendum Act is inadequate.

But the Sigaw ng Bayan insists it will file for a plebiscite on charter change, saying it has gathered more than the required number of signatures.

The Comelec early this week issued an order prohibiting its officials and employees from speaking in public about the people’s initiative or providing any legal opinion about the matter.

The poll body has received criticisms for the order, with Rep. Roilo Golez, for instance, saying that the gag rule was “unprecedented, especially with so many questions about (the Comelec’s) integrity and impartiality.”

Golez also said that if the Comelec will act on Sigaw ng Bayan’s petition for a plebiscite, the commission will be “brazenly” defying the 1997 ruling by the Supreme Court. The ruling prohibits the poll body from entertaining such a petition in the absence of an enabling law on people’s initiative.

27 Responses to Sigaw ng Bayan goes on info blitz
for unicameral parliament


Ambuot Saimo

May 26th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

As we have been saying all along, let’s not put the blame on the system. There is nothing wrong with bicameralism. It’s the people who run the system that need to be changed. Look at the U.S. (where we patterned our bicameral system), and been in existence for about two and a half centuries already but they have no problem about it because the people who run the system are not “prostitutes” unlike in the Philippines. The most important feature of bicameralism is the built-in check and balance among the two houses. Just imagine what would be the situation today if the Senate happens to be of Gloria’s minions too like the House of Representatives! Thanks God..!!!

Aside from legislation, Congress has another inherent power vested in it by the Constitution- the power of investigation in aid of legislation. This power is plenary. The investigation can cover everything including the acts of the other constitutional bodies including the president as long as there is something ought (may sumisingaw na baho or usok) to be investigated especially those where the law enforcement agencies has no power over them or when investigation by other agencies will be useless because of collussion or cover-ups. In short, they “police the police”. In fact, they can even summon Juana and “investigate” why she is not breastfeeding her baby or Mang Pandoy why he is planting rice in the Luneta.

The reason the Senate did not able to pass many bills since Gloria’s “election” is the fact that they concentrated on this other duty of investigation because of Gloria herself. Had she not cheated in the election and involved in so many scandals these investigations should have not occured and they should not be blamed for performing their duty. Do you blame the police and asked that it be abolished when they conduct investigation? Of course not!! Again, the immediate solution is for Gloria to resign…!!! And if constitutional amendment is indeed necessary, it should be done when Gloria is no longer in power through a constitutional convention.

The current move of the proponents of Cha-cha know that their arguments will not hold water both through People’s Initiative and ConAss. Yet they are pushing it even if it’s a waste of time and resources. The real motive is simple: to shift the attention from Gloria… and they are succeeding. Look at the news- the clamor for Gloria’s resignation has dwindled… it’s less Gloria’s and more Cha-cha. Hay… ambot saiyo!!!



May 27th, 2006 at 4:28 am

Why is there such a rush to change the system? Why, if there really is a need for a change, is it not afforded the normal process of change which is an enabling law? Why is everybody in the administration trying to be on “phony” express, on a blitzkrieg, working 7/24 to have this done right away?

Their actions are very obvious. GMA wants to stay in perpetual power and eliminate the possibility of her having to face the the upper house investigating all her and her cabinet members’ actions and inactions. JDV wants to cash in on GMA’s sweet promises to install him PM. GMA’s Tongressmen and paid for Senatongs like Angara, Lapid, Santiago et al being able to extend their terms without the benefit of election.

The generals of her army, comelec officials, governors and mayors, even receiving benefits from her administration are all going out of their way to have this done asap.


Jon Mariano

May 27th, 2006 at 8:22 am

They say the senate is wasting money. And whose money is sigaw ng bayan wasting for its Cha-Cha drive? Maybe it’s also the government’s?



May 27th, 2006 at 11:36 am

Well, at least the pro-chacha are deriving some satisfaction from sigaw ng bayan. But what have the senate slobs have to show after spending their multi-million pork barrel and other senate perks? A lousy 7 bills signed into law?



May 27th, 2006 at 3:55 pm

I worked at the Senate as a legislative staff of a well know Senator (let’s call her madame S). And base from my experience, yes, lost of bills are easily approved and passed at the lower house, and lost of these bills are full of flaws and anomalous provisions, one example is the National Budget. Bills takes too long in the senate because Senators have to run through in every detail of the bill and most of the time, bills were junk due to flaws and the imposibility to be implemented. One example of these bills is the “Ethanol Bill”. It was easily approved in the lower house but when we run through the bill in various senate hearings, it was found out that it is not viable for lots of financial and economic reasons.

I am very sure that non of the members of Sigaw ng Bayan has seriously worked in Senate. But I`m telling you, base from my experience, if there will be no Senate, we’ll be having a lot of laws that is not implementable and full of flaws.



May 27th, 2006 at 3:58 pm

Sorry, it should be “lots” not “lost”. Typo.



May 27th, 2006 at 5:02 pm

Do you think the hard-working senators will be able to finish all pending bills, some 2,240 of them, before their term of office expires because their two years of serious work from July 2004 to May 2006 has produced only 9 bills that were signed in to law. Check out this link:


Juan Makabayan

May 27th, 2006 at 9:31 pm

Sigaw ng Bayan is a Malacanang Initiative, lead by Lambino, who was in ConCom and AdvoCom of Malacanang, also by Ben Evardone of ULAP, whose brother Philip heads the National Printing Office that prints out the ‘praymers’ that Sigaw is using. ( Is there a Mafia connection here? )

Lorenzana of AdvoCom and Lambino of Sigaw were asked by Congressmen Locsin and C.Remulla to account for the expenses and provide a list of donors. They promised but up to this time they have not done so.

Charter Change under this circumstances, by these operators, in the manner that they are pushing it, will be as questionable as the legitimacy of GMA — making the GMA administration illegitimate three times over.

If Sigaw and other pro-chacha advocates sincerely want change for the good, then they should respect the Law and gather consensus by transparency, objective discussion and genuine debate, not by propaganda and railroading using government funds and offices. It is obvious that they want Charter Change only for their own good.



May 28th, 2006 at 9:07 am

Yes, JM, and the sad thing is our kababayan are not too inquisitive enough to ask why the hell is the charter being amended. Basta pirma lang ng pirma dahil sa gusto daw rin nila ng charter change pero tanungin mo bakit makakabuti ang charter change hindi makasagot ng matuwid. Madalas sagot lang eh kasi ayaw na namin sa tamad na senado, ganoon ka simple lang. Pag hindi ka naman nabuwang sa mga taong ito oo.



May 28th, 2006 at 12:35 pm

It seems that between the bicameral presidential and unicameral parliamentary systems, just about most have misgivings with both. The Bicameral as we have now with all the built in “check and balance”, cold have easily worked if we don’t have the “trapos” with interests to protect and the supposed check and balance made to work. And then there is the penchant for individual to get weallthy the easy way, and where could you find the gold mine but the government treasury. No guard, no security, no nothing to worry about at all, just to get elected or appointed to the position and right you are. Now, come the dancers, want to change the charter with the same people at the helm, with the same intentions, with the same mentallity and what would you have? Come another few years will go back to Bicameral presidential, the way it was before, say another troupe.

I, being a supporter of unicameral parliamentary system have no misgivings about the system, but will it work in the Philippine setting? Any system will not work in a corrupt govt. Will the Unicameral minimize corruption? In your dream. It could make it worse. Bribe the opposition in a parliamentary system, and you have the absolute power, both executive and legislative add to that an “impotent” judicial system and a little “grease” for the Media and you can play Emperor. And those are not beyond impossible scenario at present setting, they are happening now, and the Unicameral parliamentary or any system can not do anything about.


Cecile Impens

May 28th, 2006 at 3:34 pm

Toro said:
Basta pirma lang ng pirma dahil sa gusto daw rin nila ng charter change….
But, this people affixed their signatures because they had been given the “different” versions and contexts of this Gloria “so-called” people’s initiative! If there is the ones to put the blames on, it should be the barangay officials, as they are supposed to give their populations “adequate and correct informations.” Instead, they become the tools for the administration to deceive the people.

Clearly, we cannot rely anymore on these local government people to “educate us”, and to make us fully understand how we will be governed under this “Gloria initiative”.

The problem is that it seems that all the “whistle-blowers” had either been put to the graves already. For the still alive ones, the menace for their safety left them frozen with fear. Our civic organizations on the other hand seem to be “in deep slumber”; leaving the government bandits “free” to rob us of the most basic right we ought to have; the right to be informed!

You see, this is the only positive thing brought by having “illiterate populations”. People are easily molded, misled and cheated! Adding the strategy of this government is NOT to give us time to be informed, that is the reason why there is a HASTE on this Cha-Cha amendment!
In the end, we have no one but ourselves to be blamed for coming out like total IDIOTS, as we did not even bother to ask coherent questions!



May 28th, 2006 at 9:26 pm

Ouch! masakit yata ah. Are we really sure that those who supported charter change did’nt even bother to ask questions? are Idiots? basta na lang pirma ng pirma? Are we really sure that those ordinary people who believe in Charter Change dont have adequate and correct information? or we are just so sure of ourselves that we are better informed than them.



May 29th, 2006 at 6:48 am

As for me, Scud, I happened to talk to about 15 of those who signed up. Only 4 were quite knowledgeable and understood why charter change was necessary. Although I differ with their opinion (basically, they believe parliamentary will solve our political and economic problems, while I say all we need is make economic reforms) but nonetheless I respect their opinion. However, the rest simply signed up “para pagbigyan si barangay captain”. I see the point why Cecile calls them idiots.



May 29th, 2006 at 7:17 am

Then all the more that we need the information dissemination that Sigaw ng Bayan is doing, to free the “illiterate populations” from idiocy. I think it is unfair for them na tawagin ko silang “bobo” pero hindi ko naman tuturuan kung ano ang dapat malaman. Sadly, it is true that not all the signatories are knowledgable or have adequate informations, but i think instead of calling the pro-unicameral as hackeys of malacanang and those signatories who didn’t ask questions as idiots, why don’t we inform them of the demerits of having Parliamentary system and the advantages of having Presidential system. Ang sabi nga ng teacher ko, dalawang klase lang ng estudyante ang hindi nagtatanong, ang may alam at ang walang alam. Maganda na rin at may bagong pakulo ngayon ang grupo ng mga anti-chacha, ang STOP. Para naman maliwanagan ang mga tao at sila ang magpasya kung ano nga ba ang mas magandang sistema, pagdating ng plebesito sa balota na natin isigaw ang pag sang-ayon at hindi pagsang ayon natin.



May 29th, 2006 at 5:39 pm

the main questions is,,, what’s the real motive of malacanang and the other pro cha cha? why is it that they are too eager to ammend the constitution even spending peoples money?

is it beacuse it we change to parliamentary form of gorvernment.. no more election by 2007 where most of the pro administration solon are afraid to happen cozz they know they will have hard time in winning again because of what they’ve doing to our country.. why can’t the filipino people open their eyes and do something.



May 29th, 2006 at 5:43 pm

if tis cha cha is really for the ggod of the country? why is it that this sigaw ng bayan inform the people first of what really is the purpose of ammending the constitution before doing the siignature drive??



May 29th, 2006 at 7:47 pm

i don’t understand why we keep on discussing this sigaw ng bayan sponsored PI move. the SC has already ruled on this one. it’s very clear (read the 24-page 1997 decision of the SC above), there is NO INABLING LAW for such an INITIATIVE (blame congress why after 1997, they still have not ENACTED that law). and we are not even talking of an AMENDMENT here but a major REVISION of the constitution. the “INITIATIVE” provision of Section 2 of article XVII is limited only to AMENDMENTS and not to REVISION.

cha-cha can only be achieved either through CON-ASS or CON-CON. instead of wasting time on PI, they should have pushed for con-ass. petition the SC to clarify what is meant of the “¾ votes of all members of congress” if it is the combined senate & lower house votes or separate votes for both houses. if the SC says combined then, we can do the cha-cha now because of the superior numbers of pro cha-cha advocates in the lower house. if it’s not, then sorry, better luck next time because the senate will not vote for cha-cha now. sayang lang ang pera ng (sigaw daw ng) BAYAN diyan.



May 29th, 2006 at 8:35 pm

Both unicameral and bicameral system have its own merit and demerit. I’m not against Cha-cha per se but what I’m worried about is the timing and hastiness from which it is being rammed on us . Clearly, there are hidden agendas to have the constitution overhauled to suit the needs of GMA to stay herself in power.

By this alone, we have to reject its very proponent and have the constitution amended much later when we have a credible leadership in our government.

Why overhaul the entire constitution if economic viability is the only one needed?


tongue in, anew

May 30th, 2006 at 3:01 am

People’s Initiaive to revise the constitution, as explained gazillions of times, is illegal per the SC unless a “sufficient” enabling law is enacted. Meron na bang enabling law? Wala.

The next mode is Constituent Assembly. Whether voting separately or jointly, the House proponents obviously cannot make the required number, otherwise the blustering braggarts in the House would have flaunted it. The best they can do is bluff that 10 out of 50 or so signatories to Escudero’s anti-chacha resolution are signing up for chacha. Does Jaraula have 195 signatures? No.

The last option is Constitutional Convention of elected commissioners. The proponents are silent on this option, simply dismissing it as a “very expensive option”. Why wouldn’t the administration steer the chacha train to this course? Because if ConCom members are nationally elected, the more prominent constitutionalists will take over from the congressional dimwits, advance their own version of chacha, and pffft goes the agenda of Gloria and her gang of thieves.

It’s easy to discern a lost cause when you see one. This one is dead.


Cecile Impens

May 30th, 2006 at 1:53 pm

Sorry about that! Probably my harsh words created an uproar in you, but, I had no other word to describe these people but calling them as SUCH! As what I mentioned, they did no even bother to ask coherent questions. For example:

1).The barangay captain presented them the petition, asked them to sign, telling them that this is the “ONLY “way to change the government, and in addition to that, the people who signs will receive some amount (100-200 pesos?) from “sponsors” of this Cha-cha? Why the question of WHO are these supporters did not surface then? Many claims it was DILG! How true, I have no way to confirm that!

2).The local government (DILG) officials roam the area, presented the same petition, told them that by this they can even participate in the dabate for the amendments. The question here is HOW?

3).Again, the barangay captain lured them to sign because by changing the system (did not specify how), and that this could promote jobs locally! Again the question here is, HOW this cha-cha could bring them jobs?

You see, there is this massive manipulation to push Arroyo initiative. Toro stated that the people signed just to please the barangay captain! That’s an idiocy! People ought to know better than than just pleasing “someone” who serves the Queen of the Les Miserables!

I can assure you that I don’t want to air my arrogance here, since I will be the first one to condemn such demeaning act.
But, education is such a distant thing that we, the people forgot that by just asking a question could be a source of precious and correct informations we dire need. That, if the strong and the powerful ones who govern us would finally dare to provide us, honestly!



May 30th, 2006 at 2:40 pm

Funny how Sigaw ng Bayan’s recent posturing reflects what’s happening in Congress. The dialogue between the Senate and the House of Reps has not resulted in anything fruitful, and it seems that even the House leadership is finding it difficult to gather enough signatures to convene a Constituent Assembly on its own. With the possibility of convening a Con Ass by July slowly disappearing before JDV and Constantino’s eyes, Sigaw ng Bayan is making a comeback. They won’t succeed though – if there’s no Con Ass by July, many legislators and officials would start worrying about next year’s mid-term elections. If it becomes clear that the 2007 elections would push through, then our officials, no matter how calloused they are most of the time, can’t really afford to be unpopular.



May 30th, 2006 at 2:53 pm

ChaCha has always been in the agenda of the administration long before the garci scandal. So I really don’t see the problem w/ timing.
Perhaps it’s more like groups who are threatened by chacha would do anything to derail it.
Charter change is a threat to the “powers of imperial Manila”. IF you look at the trend, it is the provinces that are supporting it maily represented by their congresmen.
I think, insted of endlesly critisizing individuals. Wy are we not capable to discussing point by point the merits of issues.
I think we have to learn to separate our subjective fillings from matters that have a longer view.
I think we too have to make objective choices.
Do we want to continue w/ the politics of personalities?
Do we want a strongre party system where issues can be discussed or do we want the politicos “song & dance numbers that entertain?
Do we want to continue to have better services or do we want the “powers of imperial manila” to go on & on.
The Philippines is not metro Manila alone.



May 30th, 2006 at 4:37 pm

ah, but a little discernment should be exercised, too, joselu. those who oppose the charter change being peddled by malacanang are not exactly against federalism or a parliamentary form of government, or even a better party system.

we have to go beyond Malacanang’s propaganda. I hope you’ve read the new Con Ass resolution, because it betrays the intention behind charter change:

1. would GMA’s cha cha lead to a stronger party system? Not really. It doesn’t introduce any reforms in our party system. countries that have a parliamentary form of government have greater bias toward proportional representation (where you vote for the party and not the candidate), thus parties are organized according to political persuasions and specific programs. GMA’s cha cha makes no such reforms and only 20% of the seats are allocated to proportional rep (party-list), which by way will be most likely redesigned by the traditional parties since the existing PL law has to be re-aligned to the new constitution. Furthermore, if GMA is in favor of a better party system, why have they omitted the anti-dynasty clause in the draft constitution. heck, they actually don’t need a new constitution to abolish political dynasties, they just have to create a law to enable an existing constitutional provision.

2. remove the powers of imperial Manila? sure. wealth must be redistributed to poorer provinces, and federalism can be an important tool to achieve that. However, ‘federalizing’ without the abolition of warlordism will only transfer political and economic power from Imperial Manila to local fiefdoms. political and economic elitism, whether at the local or national level, should be abolished first to make federalism meaningful and effective.



May 30th, 2006 at 5:18 pm

Nakakalungkot na–harap-harapan sa pamamagitan ng national television sa radyo–ina-attept pa rin ni Lambino na lokohin ang sambayanan by saying with vehemence and convinction na walang kinalaman at financial support na ibinibigay ang Malacañang para sa isinusulong ng grupo niya na “People’s Initiative” kuno. Siya mismo alam niya na nanggag*g*g* siya.



May 30th, 2006 at 5:45 pm

Issues are not being discussed yet fully up to this point. So in a way it’s much to early to negate that the party system will not be strenghtened.
In a way, what has been sustaining PGMA has been s atrong party w/ clear policies. Something that the opposition is light years away to be able to face.
I beleave reforms will fall in place but first we have to get our acts together.
Anyone who faces matters w/ much pessemissim does not help to make things clear.
Obviosly, you are concerned w/ the party list.
In a parlamentary system it will be about dominant party & the parties program of goverment.I’m sure that those that can identify w/ the parties programs will join in. It will be about program of goverment & hopefully going away from the personalities.Those who share comon program of goverment will most likely join-up.
Dicentralize the powers of “imperial Manila”. It also means governor will have a greater role to play. It will be up to the people of a province how they can work together so they can prosper.Local issues can be addressed more accurately & directly by LGU’s.While Parlament can concentrate on National issues.
Obviosly, it will take time for things to work.
But this time responsibilities will be better distributed above all so that goverment services can reach the people.
In the present system everything is expected from the president, whereus, in a parlamentary/Federalissim scenario Governors will have a proactive role.
What is important is that issues can be clearly discussed.



May 30th, 2006 at 6:18 pm

hello again joselu,

funny, but if issues have not been discussed thoroughly yet, then why does the administration have a draft constitution already? indeed, why did they drop the anti-dynasty clause of the current constitution? how can they claim that their proposals are sound and well-informed when issues have not been discussed fully yet?

GMA’s survival can not be attributed to her ‘strong’ political party. The ruling coalition is not strong – the president’s party wants to take over the speakership in Congress from its sister party, LAKAS, while half of Danding’s party, the NPC, is with the administration while the other half is with the minority. How can this decadent hodge-podge be considered strong? even GMA’s party can’t reveal its membership publicly, so how can that be strong? the budget has been re-enacted for several years now, and attendance in Congress is a perennial problem, so how can you call the administration strong? if there’s anything that binds the ruling coalition, it’s patronage. nothing else. take that away from gma and her administration collapses. Listen to Rep. Cagas, who had been threatening to shift his loyalty to the minority because Malacanang failed to deliver the pork it promised, and you’d fully understand that the administration is simply a marriage of convenience.

The party-list system that we have is an emaciated version of what it should be theoretically, or how it is practiced in other countries (for ex., New Zealand, Germany, South Africa). Indeed, the parliamentary system that GMA wants to introduced is a bastardized version – note, for instance, that the President still has extensive powers under the administration’s cha-cha. The Supreme Court also becomes subservient to the parliament, since the latter can rule over the rules of judiciary. It’s a sham parliament that the want to create.



May 30th, 2006 at 7:25 pm

A draft is just what it is, a draft.Persoanly, I really hope that the issue can really be discussed.
Yes the present constitution has an anti-dynasty provision that is also subject to guidlines that our Congresmen will never do.
Sadly, the Constitution can say lots of beautiful things but subject it to legislation that politicians will never do cause it will not favor them.Same story w/ the people initiative.
Actually, frfom what I know nobody is claiming that their proposals are sound.
Personaly, I beleave that only when there will be a constituent assembly will all things come out in the open. Because for now it’s still really a battle between the the lower house & the senate.
I think that insted her party is doing a lot.The ruling coalition is strong.Perhaps, it’s also the reason why the opposition can’t seem to penetrate anywhere & insted seem to be having problems of their own.
I don’t know about how the division are between the different parties in Congress but if it’s really weak & there is no understanding between them, it would have crumbled a long time ago.
Attendance is a forever problem in Congress. A re-inacted budget does not have to do w/ weakness or strenght but it’s more of the sign of gridlock & continous horse trading that happens.
Yes, there is patronage that binds the coalition.But you must also remember that since she is the president she is the giver of the patronage.In a way she w/ JDV are managing their work well.
I don’t know much about Cagas or the real resons behind his comments.All I know they are politicians & their every move has a reason.
Personaly, I’m not really so impressed w/ the party system.I have an impression that certain people are just using it to advance their cause & even using tax payers money at that.
In a parlamentary system those same party system representatives can be elected just the same anyway.
I’m not sure about the parlamentary system being a bastardized version of this & that.
Like I said since so far there have not been any forums where issues can be discussed extensivly.chances are the little information there is going around can be incomplete or is misinformation.Given the fact that PGMA is extremly unpopular.
For me the bottom line is to encourage open forums of discussion & also for the people to have an open mind & not to be controlled by preconceived ideas.
If the administration is really weak it should have been blown away a long time ago, but it’s still doing well & the opposition is more divided then ever.

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