• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

Celebrate the Filipino people's victory in the Supreme Court's junking of the "People's Initiative"

October 26, 2006

We join the rest of our countrymen in celebrating the decision of the Supreme Court to junk the petition for a “People’s Initiative” by the Sigaw ng Bayan and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines to push for Charter Change. Amidst pressures from Malacanang and its allies in the Lower House, the majority of the high court has seen through the deceptive maneuvers of the proponents of Charter Change and correctly consigned to the dust bin of history the so-called “cry of the people”.

The strongly-worded Supreme Court decision “not to be party to a grand deception”, has affirmed the unconstitutional manner by which signatures in the petition have been gathered because it did not contain the proposed changes to the charter which signatories would have conformed with. Beyond this, we assert that it is a bogus peoples’ initiative as it has been funded by government money and coordinated by Malacanang through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

But the battle against Arroyo’s Charter Change, which has been won in this first round by only one vote, is far from over. The petitioners still have a chance to appeal this in the high court. Moreover, the People’s Initiative is but Plan A in an array of options crafted by Malacanang to push Charter Change. Plan B, the Constituent Assembly to be pushed by administration congressmen and which is being fast-tracked by the Jaraulla Resolution that requires 2/3 vote of the 2 chambers of Congress combined and a similar resolution by Congressman Pichay, is next in line.

Let us not lose sight of the core issues of Charter Change: extension of incumbent officials including Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, further restrictions on civil and political rights, removal of prohibitions on foreign troops, bases and nuclear weapons and further opening up of the country’s patrimony to foreign exploitation, all of which are outright anti-people measures.

Charter Change can only mean the continued rule of a President whose legitimacy has not been established amidst unsettled accusations of cheating, lying, and stealing; more human rights violations and more political killings; and deeper economic crisis and destruction of our environment. Here in the Cordillera, it will mean more destructive mines, dams and other similar projects which grab our land and resources that are the sources of sustenance and livelihood.

In the midst of continuing Malacanang deception and political repression, let us maintain our vigilance. Let us expose and oppose all anti-people measures cooked up by an isolated faction of greedy politicians whose days in power are numbered. ###

Tongtongan Ti Umili
October 26, 2006
Baguio City