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EDITORIAL: Popular Vigilance

SENATE Majority Leader Joel Villanueva has raised a red flag, denouncing what he deems a covert campaign aimed at dismantling the Senate through a supposed people’s initiative to amend the Constitution.

Urging Filipinos to stay vigilant, Villanueva has cautioned against falling prey to what he perceives as a disguised attempt to undermine the Senate’s crucial role in upholding checks and balances.

As a responsible representative in the Senate, Villanueva has taken it upon himself to inform the public about the alleged widespread signing to dissolve the Senate, remove essential checks and balances, and potentially eliminate term limits for politicians.

Emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making, he highlighted the rights of Filipinos to shape their Constitution but strongly condemned any attempts to manipulate public opinion through bribery and coercion.

Villanueva stressed that the integrity of the democratic process should not be compromised, asserting, “Our countrymen shouldn’t be bought, bribed, and abused.”

He called on citizens to be wary of any inducements in exchange for their signatures and urged those who may have been deceived to come forward and sound it off.

To empower those who have fallen victim to such schemes, the majority leader encouraged reporting, requesting evidence such as videos, pictures, or screenshots of bribery attempts.

Villanueva assured individuals that their identities would be protected, emphasizing the need to expose those behind the questionable initiatives.

The senator’s concerns arise amidst President Marcos Jr.’s directive to initiate Charter change, a move previously met with lukewarm reception in the Senate.

Despite this shift, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri clarified that the amendments would focus solely on specific economic provisions of the Constitution, including the Public Services Act, education, and advertising.

As the nation embarks on this constitutional journey, Villanueva’s vigilance serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency, public awareness, and the protection of democratic values. In the face of potential manipulation, Filipinos are called upon to defend the integrity of their democracy and ensure that any constitutional amendments genuinely serve the collective interest of the nation.

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