THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) today denied the petition for a people’s initiative to amend the Constitution. Comelec said the petition could not be given “due course” because of a 1997 Supreme Court ruling preventing the poll body from entertaining such.

In a five-page resolution, Comelec ruled en banc that it is standing by the High Court’s ruling on Santiago vs. Comelec, where RA 6735 or the law providing for an initiative and referendum was declared “incomplete and inadequate” to cover the system of an initiative. Comelec is thus “permanently enjoined” from entertaining any petition to amend the Constitution until a “sufficient law” will be passed to implement the initiative. (Read the Comelec resolution.)

“The commission is not unmindful of the transcendental importance of the right of the people under a system of initiative. However, neither can we turn a blind eye to the pronouncement of the High Court that in the absence of a valid enabling law, this right of the people remains nothing but an ’empty right,'” the Comelec said.

Under RA 6735, a petition to amend the Constitution requires signatures of 12 percent of all registered voters and at least three percent of voters in each congressional district.

In the petition, Sigaw ng Bayan and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines said they were able to gather enough signatures to meet the 12-percent requirement.

But Comelec said it had to deny the petition “even if the signatures in the petition appear to meet the required minimum number of registered votes.”

Anti-Charter change groups have declared the signature campaign for the people’s initiative “anomalous,” claiming that signatures in the Sigaw petition have been “fabricated.”Sigaw ng Bayan spokesperson Raul Lambino have denied these allegations; he said the verification of signatures would prove his accusers wrong.

The verification of signatures in the Sigaw petition would pave the way for a plebiscite to approve revisions to Articles VI and VII of the Constitution and a new Article XVIII of Transitory provisions for the “orderly shift from the presidential to parliamentary system.”

In a forum last Monday, Senator Franklin Drilon asked Comelec to allow the STOP Chacha Movement to present evidence on the alleged fabrication of signatures even if issues of legality and sufficiency have not been resolved.

In an opposition filed last Tuesday, the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL) said Comelec could easily declare the signatures “in order” even without any evidence presented or objections raised. “And all the Supreme Court has to do is to remand the case to Comelec and order it to set the plebiscite, which Sigaw hopes will take place in January 2007 at most,” CODAL said. (Read the opposition.)

CODAL spokesperson Neri Colmenares believes “that Sigaw’s gameplan is to have its petition dismissed so it can immediately go to the Supreme Court” where it can expect a “favorable decision.”

“Comelec’s dismissal of the petition is actually expected since this is the fastest means to have the Santiago ruling reversed,” Colmenares explains.

Colmenares also says the petition is “fatally defective” since only Lambino and ULAP head Erico Aumentado signed as petitioners and merely attached the signature sheets of the 10 million voters.

“Clearly, what should have been filed is a petition of the signatories representing 12 percent of the registered voters. Since only two people signed the petition, it does not fulfill this constitutional requirement,” he says, “What Sigaw actually did the past few months was circulate signature sheets without showing to the voter-signatories the actual petition, which makes all the supposed millions of signatures void and completely useless.”

CODAL is one of the eight groups which filed separate oppositions seeking the dismissal of the petition. Other groups include the citizens group One Voice and Alternative Law Groups Inc. Minority members from the Senate and House of Representatives also filed oppositions against the Sigaw petition.

11 Responses to Comelec rejects petition for people’s initiative


Ambuot Saimo

September 1st, 2006 at 4:46 am

Wow… parang ang sarap ano? Kaya lang nakakapagduda bakit ang bilis niluto. O baka naman binudburan ng sangkatutak na bitsen. Ingat mga kaibigan!



September 1st, 2006 at 8:24 am

The speed by which the COMELEC ruled on the petition is not surprising. It merely followed the law – which is the Supreme Court decision in Santiago v. Defensor-Santiago. It has no choice on the matter. Frankly I’m surprised it took them this long to dismiss the petition by Sigaw and ULAP.

The danger here is whether the Supreme Court will abandon its ruling in Santiago. That ruling was delivered by a divided Court with the slimmest of margins. There is no reason to believe that the Court will not reconsider its position.



September 1st, 2006 at 10:02 am

There is no reason to believe that the Court will not reconsider its position.

that depends if you consider an arrovo-packed court or the court that threw out EO 464, et cetera.



September 1st, 2006 at 11:05 am

monk is right, the COMELEC just followed the law.
I think that everybody knows it that the petition will eventualy end up in the SC.
Jester, if you remember, the last 3 issues the so called “arroyo packed” SC rules on where fair. I don’t think anyone could say the ruling was one sided.
If you remember, I think the SC mentioned something to the effect that the so called investigations in aide of legislations must have clear guide line. Like prepared question before hand.
Does not that sound fair & organized & a means that the senators use their power recklesly?
Or would you have prefered that the SC rule giving the senators to “investigate” anything & everything they want?
Let’s face it, like it or not, na pusoy the senators. Because now that they are being asked clear guide lines for their so called “in aide of legislation kuno”, they are at a lost.
All they can do is make threats left & right & strike 1,2,3 & your charged w/ contempt.
I think it’s wise that GMA is putting her foot down & sending signals that democracy does not mean “anything goes” & reckless “grandstanding”.
Perhaps some people just like the exciting spectacle of political wars while precious time is lost to work hard to make this country go forward.



September 1st, 2006 at 12:31 pm

If you remember, I think the SC mentioned something to the effect that the so called investigations in aide of legislations must have clear guide line. Like prepared question before hand.

and to sen. cayetano, et al’s dismay, even if such prepared questions are sent out and the planned legislation identifed (what sort of idiot needs prepared questions? incompetent ones, i doubt not), these wonderful people still refuse to show up, in keeping with GMA’s orders.

in this arrovoconomic trapocracy, who’s stonewalling who now?


Ambuot Saimo

September 1st, 2006 at 10:30 pm

Guys, something is brewing in here and it smells even from afar.

The chefs are cooking something special for Arroyo within the deadline. The assistant chef (Comelec) has already done its part of preparing the salad, soup & the appetizer which although does’nt smell good but delicious a’la keso de bola or durian. The main course and dessert will be prepared by the Chef- the Gloria majority-appointed members Supreme Court.

Sana mali ang naa-amoy natin. Harinawa… D’yos Na Maawain!!!


tongue in, anew

September 2nd, 2006 at 4:35 am

I had been forewarning about this even before the decisions on PP1017, CPR, EO464 were made. Everybody was celebrating their own “partial victories”, whether pro or anti administration. The Bunyetas were quick to spin these in their favor.

While I maintained my guarded admiration for the Court, a far improvement from the previous distrust brought by their “creative constructions” in the matter of Erap’s resignation and Davide’s impeachment, I had opined in separate threads here that the real test of independence will come when two matters will be raised before it: Chacha by People’s Initiative, and Chacha by Constituent Assembly.

I would have favored deciding the 3 opressive Malacañang orders to Gloria’s benefit, even if only in exchange for making sure of SC’s blocking Chacha by the modes preferred either by JDV or Singaw ng Bayad.

This, my dear friends, is the final battle. Any decision unfavorable to the people spells doom. And the forces of darkness will surely not let its due course because if there is any decision that is the most crucial to Gloria’s political and physical survival that this Court will ever make, this is it.

The whole machinery, money, and influence will be at Gloria’s disposal every step of the way, as this will finally decide whether she will land in jail or not and when.

Time is of the utmost importance. The failed impeachment has so far satisfactorily stayed on schedule, but between today and the elections, a mere six months or so before the campaign starts, the evil minions cannot afford to lose time, look at the synchronized movements of Congress, Comelec, now, Supreme Court. Comelec’s quick rejection of the petition was actually planned and served Singaw’s purpose to shorten the delay for the referemdum and buy more time for ConAss in case the SC likewise junks it. Further, Comelec’s comment regarding sufficient number of signatures, though uncalled for, had been delivered and has successfully served its own purpose.

A sure sign that Supreme Court will finally dance to Gloria’s chacha is when the Justices prioritize chacha and take it up with unusual dispatch. Then, we’re truly fucked.


INSIDE PCIJ » A sweet victory

October 26th, 2006 at 10:31 am

[…] On August 26, 2006, the group filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to hold a plebiscite that will ratify the initiative petition. The group, headed by Sigaw spokesperson Raul Lambino, alleged the petition had the support of over six million Filipinos, constituting at least 12 percent of all registered voters. Comelec dismissed the petition, as a Supreme Court ruling bars it from entertaining a system of initiative for lack of an enabling law. The group raised the matter before the High Court. […]


INSIDE PCIJ » 62 percent ‘unsure’ if SC decision on initiative petition will be fair — SWS

October 26th, 2006 at 11:53 am

[…] The High Court is set to issue this week its decision on the petition filed by pro-Charter change groups Sigaw ng Bayan and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. The people’s initiative petition, which both groups claimed has the support of nearly nine million Filipinos, was elevated to High Court after the Commission on Elections denied the petition because of a 1997 Supreme Court ruling preventing the poll body from entertaining such an initiative. […]


INSIDE PCIJ » Deception and the Sigaw initiative

November 3rd, 2006 at 10:26 am

[…] But the Court said the petition could not be remanded to the Comelec, which had earlier also dismissed the Sigaw initiative, because it is first and foremost void and unconstitutional. […]


Justice pretenders |

September 10th, 2008 at 8:54 am

[…] Law 1 class, our professor made us replay in our own way the Supreme Court proceedings in Lambino vs. COMELEC. My blockmates and I took on different roles as Supreme Court Justices, petitioners and […]

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