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EDITORIAL: Charter Caution

THE people’s initiative for Charter change has taken an unfortunate turn, marred by shameful vote-buying practices orchestrated by some politicians across the region. As a response to this growing concern, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a stern warning to barangay officials against their involvement in the infamous undertaking.

DILG undersecretary Felicito Valmocina emphasized the need for barangay officials to refrain from participating in the signature campaign, making it clear that barangay halls should not be utilized for such initiatives.

Valmocina pointed out a troubling violation where a barangay official was directly involved in soliciting signatures from constituents, urging a complaint to be filed with specific details and the official’s name.

It is crucial for barangay officials to heed this warning, as their involvement not only violates regulations but also risks compromising the integrity of the people’s initiative. The DILG’s stance underscores the importance of maintaining a fair and transparent process free from any undue influence.

In response to mounting concerns, House deputy minority leader France Castro and ACT Teachers partylist representative has called for a thorough investigation into the ongoing campaign.

Instances of alleged signature buying, particularly when tied to the distribution of government aid and gifts, raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the entire initiative.

Senator Imee Marcos has also taken action, filing a resolution seeking a Senate review on the effectiveness of Republic Act 6735. This law, designed to provide a system of initiative and referendum, faces scrutiny amid reported efforts to gather signatures pushing for an amendment to the 1987 Constitution.

It is imperative for barangay officials to uphold their responsibilities with the utmost integrity and commitment to the well-being of their constituents. The success of any initiative for Charter change hinges on a fair, untainted process that genuinely represents the will of the people. Let this be a cautionary reminder for all officials to safeguard the democratic process from any form of manipulation and corruption.

The integrity of the people’s initiative for Charter change stands at a critical juncture. The warning issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government serves as a crucial reminder for barangay officials to maintain a distance from the signature campaign, preventing any compromise of the democratic process.

As calls for investigations echo through the political landscape, it is evident that transparency and fairness must prevail. Only through a genuine, untainted effort can the people’s voice be accurately reflected in any proposed changes to the constitution.

The success of this initiative hinges on the commitment of all stakeholders to uphold the principles of democracy, ensuring that the true will of the people guides the path forward.


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