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PI advocates have gathered 12.1-percent signatures – Salceda

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Advocates of people’s initiative (PI) have already gathered more than enough signatures to push for a direct amendment of the Constitution, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said.

He told reporters that the support of at least three percent of voters in each congressional district and a minimum of 12 percent nationwide has already been gathered by PI supporters, a press release from the House of Representatives said.

In fact, he said 12.1 percent of voters have signed the petition for a direct constitutional amendment.

He said the petition to allow Congress to vote jointly on any proposed Charter amendment is now being finalized and would soon be filed by PI organizers.

Reacting to the manifesto issued by the Senate, Salceda said it is the people who should prevail, not 24 senators.

He said seven senators opposed to PI or constitutional change should not be allowed to “trump the voice of the 12 percent of the population.”

He said if senators are calling PI as politicians’ initiative, they have a very low regard for the people who support the Charter reform petition.

He pointed out that senators are free to campaign against the PI petition advocating joint voting by Congress on constitutional change.

He added that PI now seems to be the only viable option for Charter reform.

Asked about the recent agreement between President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and senators to push for amending the Constitution’s economic provisions, Salceda said: “It’s most welcome. Yung naman talaga yung unang, yung (that is really the original) RBH (Resolution of Both Houses ) No. 2, which is approved in the House. There were 358 attempts on the part of the…bills filed in the House and all of them were dead on arrival in the Senate.”

He claimed that the Philippines has lagged behind its neighbors because of constitutional restrictions in several areas of the economy.

Asked about effecting Charter reform via the legislative process, Salceda said it may not be possible “given the adamant and almost violent response of the Senate to the people’s initiative.”*

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