Senate of the Philippines

After Senate manifesto, Salceda claims charter change signature requirement reached

Kaycee Valmonte

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After Senate manifesto, Salceda claims charter change signature requirement reached

Davao 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab via Facebook

In a separate message to reporters, Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda claims that the total signatures collected account for 12.1% of total registered voters

MANILA, Philippines – Despite controversy surrounding the people’s initiative for charter change, the collected number of signatures has allegedly already exceeded the required 12% of total registered voters.

Sobra na sa requirement, saka lahat ng distrito naka-3% na (It’s now beyond the requirement, and all districts have reached 3% already),” Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said in an interview with DzBB Super Radyo on Wednesday, January 24.

In a separate Viber message to reporters, the lawmaker claimed that the total signatures collected account for 12.1% of total registered voters. This could mean that the campaign has already collected at least 8 million signatures.

The development comes a day after senators released a strongly-worded manifesto rejecting the lower chamber’s efforts to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly where “the Senate and its 24 members cannot cast any meaningful vote against the 316 members of the House of Representatives.”

After Senate manifesto, Salceda claims charter change signature requirement reached

This is a turnaround as just a week ago, Senate President Miguel Zubiri said it will be the upper chamber that will lead amendments that concern the economy, specifically on provisions aiming to further welcome foreign investors. (RELATED: Where do senators stand on charter change?)

‘Let Comelec validate signatures’

The signature campaign for charter change started early January, although there have been reports that it began as early as the holidays. Local coordinators for the campaign allegedly offer P100 to registered voters in exchange for their signatures.

With the reports of bribery clouding the people’s initiative, Senate Majority Leader Joey Villanueva has called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “invalidate” the signatures.

Salceda echoed the position taken by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in relation to the allegations. (READ: Cash in exchange for Cha-Cha signatures? ‘Wala namang ganoon,’ says Marcos)

“Let the Comelec validate the signatures; that’s in the Constitution,” Salceda said on Wednesday. “E di tanggalin nila ‘yung mga pirma na sinabi nilang pinilit, na-coerce, binili. Puwede rin naman ‘yun e, isa-isahin nila, e di kahit tanggalin nila lahat yan, lampas pa rin ng 12%.”

(Then let them remove the signatures they said were collected by force, or signatures of those who were coerced, and given bribes. They can do that, check them one by one but even if they remove all of those, it would still exceed 12%.)

Poll: Only 1% find Cha-Cha important

Lawmakers at the lower chamber have always been pushing to amend the supreme law of the land. Salceda said there have been 358 charter change attempts since 1987. (RELATED: LOOK BACK: Past Charter Change attempts and why they failed)

“For the first time in our lives, why don’t we listen to the people,” Salceda said.

But according to a survey conducted by OCTA Research from December 10 to 14, 2023 among 1,200 participants, majority or 73% of poll respondents said rising prices of consumer goods is the “most urgent national concern for adult Filipinos.” Employment issues follow, with 36% pointing to job creation and 34% to increasing wages as urgent.

“It must be noted, that changing the constitution is not an urgent concern of adult Filipinos,” OCTA Research said. “Only 1% of respondents identified it as a priority concern in the 4th quarter Tugon ng Masa survey last December 2023.” – with reports from Dwight de Leon and Bonz Magsambol/Rappler.com

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