Charter Change or '07 Elections?

Manila Bulletin, August 22, 2006 | Go to article overview

Charter Change or '07 Elections?


Byline: Hern. P. Zenarosa

EVENTUALLY, after an overextended postponement of the promised filing of the petition to amend the Constitution through "people's initiative" with the Commission on Election, the Charter Change Advocacy Commission is now ready to do so this week.

That is the good news.

The fact is that the filing of the petition has long been awaited if only to clear the lingering doubts over the legality of the people's initiative as a process in the amendment of the Charter.

The clash of views between its proponents and those who oppose it continues to fuel confusion to the already tottering division among the citizens.

Incidentally, the chairman of the Charter Change Advocacy Commission has written the Editor-in-Chief of this paper disputing our claim which appeared in this space some time ago, that Charter change issues were dividing the nation.

Lito Monico Lorenzana, chairman of the commission, wrote: "If Charter change breeds wide divisions among the citizenry, then where did the more than 10 million signatures come from which represent 25 percent of the total number of the registered voting population?"

I really do not know where the signatures of that 25 percent of the voting population came from but what many people are talking about is that they were solicited by well-funded organizations - certainly not on the initiative of most of those whose signatures appear in the initiative forms.

But the commission's worry should be on the 75 percent other voters who did not sign up for Charter change initiative: Certainly, you cannot ignore the 75 percent of the voting population as its vote will be crucial when the plebiscite is presented to the public.

The people have spoken, the commission official said, explaining that the signatures gathered by the Sigaw ng Bayan "is one proof that our citizens are unified in the clamor for constitutional reforms."

But how could the citizens be considered unified if they are represented merely by a small minority? …

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