Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'People's initiative' still the best option, says Dongkoy

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Ben Balce / Dec 13) - Never mind if no one’s talking about it anymore, and never mind if the Supreme Court already killed it. For Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente Emano, the so-called ‘‘People’s Initiative’’ remains as the best option for constitutional reforms.

Emano said this after the Lower House decided to shelve moves to convene a constituent assembly and push for constitutional convention instead in an effort to change the 1987 Charter.

"If it’s Con-con now, I would rather go back to ‘people’s initiative,’" said Emano. "The last to decide is the people––so go back and ask the people by way of a ‘people’s initiative.’"

Emano maintained that there is an enabling law for a people’s initiative, adding that it is legal and the only way to directly hear the voice of citizens.

Which is why, Emano said, he is hoping that the SC would reconsider its position on the petition of Sigaw ng Bayan and the Union of Local authorities of the Philippines (Ulap). (Editor's note:
The petition was rejected by the SC on Dec. 12, 2006, according to reports).

"It is important to hear the voice of the people and that’s through a people’s initiative," Emano said.

The two pro-Charter change groups have filed a second motion for reconsideration before the SC which trashed their petition.

"I think people behind the people’s initiative will not stop and they will not surrender," Emano said.

If the SC reconsiders and rules in favor of Sigaw ng Bayan and Ulap, Emano said he would be fully behind it.

But if pro-Arroyo allies succeed in pushing the Con-con, Emano said the election of delegates can be held simultaneously with next year’s May 14 elections or the barangay elections.

But first, Emano said, the people ‘‘must be convinced that the electoral system is trustworthy."

Emano added: "Let’s see if the people would begin to trust the Comelec again after the 2007 elections."

Any change to the Constitution should be done in "a calm manner and not in a period of confusion," he said.