Duterte won’t stop People’s Initiative

Published July 19, 2018, 3:31 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte will not get in the way of any people’s initiative on the proposal to postpone the 2019 midterm elections, according to a Palace official.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said although the President believes in the conduct of the elections, he could not do anything if the poll postponement is pursued through a people’s initiative.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte


“Kapag people’s initiative na iyan, ano pa ang magagawa mo kung nanggaling na iyan sa taumbayan, di ba? [If that’s a people’s initiative, what else can you do if it comes from the people?]” he said during a Palace news conference.

Asked if the President will allow such initiative to scrap the polls, Roque said: “People’s initiative nga, that’s the nature of people’s initiative.”

Roque, however, asserted that the President has declared he would not get involved in any moves to postpone the elections just to speed up the shift to federalism.

“I will quote the President, ‘I will not have any hand in that.’ Talagang hindi po siya payag sa no-el para lamang sa Charter change [He is really opposed to no-election just for Charter change],” he said.

“Naniniwala po siya sa demokrasya, naniniwala siya sa eleksiyon at ang nais niya isabay na nga itong referendum sa eleksiyon [He believes in democracy, he believes in the elections],” he added.

He also stressed that the President does not want him and his allies in Congress to benefit from moves to amend the Charter for the shift to federal government.

“He has asked the consultative committee to include the provision that would ensure that he will not benefit from Charter change. He would like to see all his allies do the same thing – not to benefit from Charter change, leading by way of example,” he added.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has proposed to launch a people’s initiative to cancel the 2019 elections to hasten the country’s shift to federalism.

Alvarez earlier wanted to scrap the elections to allow deliberation on the proposed changes in the Constitution, especially the shift in the system of government.

Senators however have opposed Alvarez’s proposal for a people’s initiative to cancel the people and introduce amendments to the Charter.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said there was still no enabling law to empower the people to propose changes in the Constitution. He noted that the Supreme Court ruled the Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act was inadequate to implement the people’s initiative.