Sen. Mar Roxas called it “bogus.” Sen. Richard Gordon called it “fake.” James Marty Lim, president of the National Federation of Barangays, confirmed that the persons soliciting signatures for Charter change (Cha-cha) were given “incentives” or an amount of money for every signature secured. Former President Fidel V. Ramos called it “deception” for getting signatures without explaining to the person signing what he was agreeing to. Rep. Gilbert Remulla said his barangay captains reported to him they were offered money and were even threatened by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officials to solicit signatures. Rep. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said in several areas, rice and PhilHealth cards were also given in addition to money.
President Ramos called it correctly when he said that which the Cha-cha movers were doing was “equivalent to vote-buying.” Sen. Nene Pimentel said without an enabling law, the signed petitions have been “conceived in sin and born in sin” and should be dismissed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) outright.
Sen. Juan Flavier predicted it will take two years to scrutinize each and
every signature. Former Sen. Boy Herrera reveals that P10 billion has been allocated for the Cha-cha through the initiative campaign.
Old habits die hard. GMA, JdV, Ronnie Puno et. al are again coming up with every dirty trick in the book to ram through the initiative. And the way Comelec Chairman Ben Abalos is talking, it looks like he will cooperate once again. Reports from the Bicol Region say the Comelec officers will be paid handsomely for every signature they verify.
Patricio Diaz has some good points about this so called "people's intitiative":
The question asked of the people before affixing their signatures to the forms to be signed is this:
“Do you approve the amendment of Articles VI and VII of the 1987 Constitution, changing the form of government from the present bicameral-presidential to a unicameral-parliamentary system of government, in order to achieve greater efficiency, simplicity and economy in government and providing an Article XVIII as transitory provisions for the orderly shift from one system to another?"
This is followed by an attestation, then the attestee signs:
“My signature herein, which shall form part of the petition for initiative to amend the Constitution, signifies my support thereof.”
Note very well:
First, the people are asked to “approve” the amendment. Is this an initiative or a plebiscite?
Second, the question includes the reason for the amendment. But what is the amendment? How many know Articles VI and VII? How many can differentiate the presidential from the parliamentary form of government? Without fully understanding these, how can they appreciate the reason?
Third, whoever framed the question did not fully understand “form of government”. A parliamentary government maybe “unicameral”. But a presidential government cannot be “bicameral”.
Fourth, there’s a mention of Article XVIII as the transitory provisions. What do the people know about this?
Fifth, the people are asked to sign “the petition for initiative to amend the Constitution”. Is “petition” the same as “initiative”?
There is no initiative from the people in the barangays. They are only asked to support someone else’s “initiative” either the House or the Con-Com draft. They don’t understand what they are supporting. They are only asked to, so they sign.
In fact, they don’t know what they are doing. But they do because they are told to do so. To the Palace, that’s democracy at its best.
Billy Esposo: How gov't advertising is being used to control the media
AttyErwinJames has an Q&A written for "Arroyo must stay" people like Winnie Monsod and Austero.
Sassy Lawyer, a pro-Arroyo blogger, says she is being attacked again by the forces of evil. She talks about bloggers "out to get her" but never provides any proof or links. I think she's becoming paranoid. :o) hehe...
"They're coming to get you, Barbara." -- Night of the Living Dead.
UPDATE: I've been reading a lot of MLQ3 recently, including his comments in the comments section, and i've never seen MLQ3 attack Sassy's person directly or indirectly. Did MLQ3 disagree with her sometimes? Yes. But attacked her personally? No. In fact, most of MLQ3's comments on sassy have been positive, and he defends her (and her views) a lot from the other commenters.
To bad I can't say the same thing about Sassy. Sometimes, she can't take criticisms of her ideas without taking it personal too.
Props to Manuel for taking the high road.
UPDATE: John Nery thinks he is the one being referred to in the Sassy attack post.