Consultative Committee proposes self-executing People's Initiative article
MANILA, Philippines – The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) currently drafting a new constitution proposes to include a self-executing provision on People's Initiative – or the power of citizens to directly create, amend, or repeal laws.
The group, on Thursday, June 7, presented a draft version of its proposed article on People's Initiative.
The proposal is novel because in the 1987 Constitution, there is no self-executing provision to enable citizens to directly exercise legislative powers. Section 32 only asks Congress to "provide a system of initiative and referendum."
Republic Act No. 6735, or the Initiative and Referendum Act, was in response to that section in the Constitution.
The Con-Com's proposed article includes provisions similar to those in the act but with key changes.
In the proposed article, a petition for People's Initiative should fulfill the following signature requirements:
- To revise the Constitution, signatures of at least 30% of the votes cast in the last national elections, of which every federated region must be represented by at least 10% of such votes
- To amend the Constitution, signatures of at least 12% of the votes cast in the last national elections, of which every federated region must be represented by at least 3% of such votes
- To enact, amend, or reject a federal law, signatures of at least 10% of the votes cast in the last national elections, of which every federated region must be represented by at least 3% of such votes
In the Initiative and Referendum Act, the signatures are measured, not against the number of votes cast in the last national elections, but against the number of total registered voters.
Process for People's Initiative
Verified petitions and the draft of the proposal shall be submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
If the proposal is to revise the Constitution, the Comelec proceeds to set a date for the plebiscite allowing citizens to vote on the proposal. The plebiscite should take place not less than 6 months from the submission of the proposal.
If the proposal is to enact, amend, or repeal a law, the Comelec refers it to the proposed Federal Constitutional Court which will then determine whether or not the proposal, if passed, would violate the Constitution.
Once the court determines favorably on the proposal, the Comelec certifies it and submits it to a plebiscite or referendum in the next national election as long as it takes place not earlier than 6 months from certification.
The proposed article also makes it the Comelec's job to ensure the public is well-informed about the people-initiated legislative measures. This will be done through distribution to registered voters of informational pamphlets, publication of the measure in at least 3 national newspapers, airing of broadcast materials in television networks, and the holding of public fora in every province and highly urbanized city.
A people-initiated proposal is deemed adopted if majority in the plebiscite or referendum vote in favor of it. An adopted proposal cannot be revised or amended for one year after its effectivity. It can also only be done if two-thirds of the Senate and the House of Representatives, voting separately, vote to do so. – Rappler.com