Catholic Church

Bishop Pabillo warns against ‘politico-led’ people’s initiative

Robbin Dagle

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Bishop Pabillo warns against ‘politico-led’ people’s initiative
Ever since, Catholic bishops have been critical of moves to amend the 1987 Constitution

MANILA, Philippines – Bishop Broderick Pabillo, one of the Catholic Church’s most outspoken leaders in the Philippines, warned the public against moves to amend the 1987 Constitution through people’s initiative.

Sabihin sa mga tao na huwag pumirma! Hindi ito inisyatiba na galing sa mga tao kundi ng ilang mga politico (Tell the people not to sign! This is not an initiative from the people, but from politicians),” Pabillo wrote in a statement posted on Thursday, January 11, on the CBCPNews website.

Pabillo is known for his activism and sharp takes on social issues ever since his appointment as auxiliary bishop of Manila in 2006. Now assigned as apostolic vicar of Taytay in Palawan, Pabillo had highlighted the need to end mining and defend the environment. 

Pabillo said that there are even offers to bribe people in exchange for their signatures, and that barangay assemblies may be used to gather them. He also noted that the circulating petition seeks to combine the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote as one constituent assembly–effectively disregarding senators’ votes.

This comes as efforts for charter change–which proponents say are for amending economic provisions–are gaining momentum on ground and on the airwaves

Legislators from opposition congressman Albay Representative Edcel Lagman to Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte, son of former president Rodrigo Duterte, had denounced the use of monetary incentives–reported to be as low as P100–enticing people to sign the petition. 

Rappler estimates that 7.884 million registered voters are needed to amend the constitution through people’s initiative.

Catholic bishops have been critical of previous attempts to amend the Constitution.

In 2018, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, then-president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, released pastoral guidelines for discerning charter change. 

“If the Constitution is to be revised at all, the process should lead to a greater defense and promotion of the above-mentioned moral values of human dignity and human rights, integrity and truth, participation and solidarity, and the common good,” Valles said. –

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