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PRESS STATEMENT

(THE hereunder press statement, issued by Albay 1st District Representative and Liberal Party President Edcel C. Lagman, has been provided to this paper by the Media and Communications Team of the office of Atty. Leila M. De Lima, spokesperson of the Liberal Party).


The promoters of people’s initiative to amend the Constitution for joint voting in the constituent assembly are brandishing mere scraps of signature sheets because:


1. Pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 10650 dated January 31, 2020, the alleged signatures are to be verified whether they are “genuine and authentic and whether the Petitioner is a voter with active registration record.” Without such prior verification by election officers nationwide, such signatures are not sufficient to support a petition for people’s initiative.


2. The signature campaign is marred by disinformation, and signature buying which is a criminal offense under the Omnibus Election Code in relation to the Initiative and Referendum Act (R.A. No. 6736).


3. No formal prerequisite petition has been filed with the Comelec.


4. The timeline for people’s initiative is set by the Comelec, not by the proponents.


5.There is no compliant legislation to implement the people’s initiative as required by the Constitution.


The prevailing jurisprudence is that the Initiative and Referendum Act or R.A. No. 6736 is inadequate to implement people’s initiative to amend the Constitution as held in Santiago vs. Comelec.


The ruling in Santiago has not been abandoned in Lambino vs. Comelec where the petition for people’s initiative was rejected by the Supreme Court because it proposed a full-scale revision of the Constitution from presidential to parliamentary system, while people’s initiative is just limited to amendments.


The main ruling in Lambino held that there was no need to revisit Santiago because it was not necessary in deciding the principal issue in Lambino.


The passing statement in the brief resolution rejecting the motion for reconsideration of petitioner Lambino wherein it was mentioned that ten justices were in favor of abandoning the ruling in Santiago was a mere orbiter dictum which was not determinative in the ruling of the High Court, unnecessary, and did not constitute a precedent.


In layman’s parlance, an obiter dictum is a “by the way” comment akin to “incidentally” which is not the ratio desidendi or rationale for the decision.


EDCEL C. LAGMAN

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