One Voice submits memorandum to SC
(Below is the press release issued by One Voice yesterday to the media.)
One Voice, a multisectoral group that is opposed to a fake peopleâ€™s initiative, formally asked the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the Commission on Elections and thus dismiss the peopleâ€™s initiative petition filed by Sigaw ng Bayan because of serious questions of law and discoveries of fabricated signatures and other irregularities in the certificates and signature sheets submitted by the pro-charter change group to the Comelec.
â€œWe believe that the signature gathering process of Sigaw ng Bayan was marked by fraud and deception, and fatally flawed for lack of a legally authorized process. Our legal team also raised serious questions of law in our memorandum to the Supreme Court. One Voice is confident that the high tribunal will study carefully all of these legal arguments in light of its institutional role as the defender of the Constitution,â€ One Voice chairman Christian Monsod stressed.
In the memorandum submitted to the Supreme Court by One Voice lead counsel Atty. Carlos Medina, the anti-chacha group said that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the peopleâ€™s initiative petition of Sigaw ng Bayan because it merely complied with the previous ruling of the Supreme Court.
One Voice pointed out that there is no sufficient law on peopleâ€™s initiative to change the Constitution. â€œInstead of re-examining Santiago V. Comelec, the Supreme Court should let Congress pass the needed implementing law.â€ The Senate committee on constitutional amendments chaired by Senator Dick Gordon recently conducted hearings on bills that seek to enact the said constitutional provision.
Also included in the One Voice memorandum containing over 200 pages, are its findings on the discrepancies, flaws, and fraudulent signatures found in the certificates and signature sheets submitted by Sigaw ng Bayan to the Comelec.
â€œThe initiative petition has failed to comply with the constitutional requirement that 3% of the voters in each legislative district must sign the petition. The law requires that for a signature to be counted as part of the 3%, the signature must be verified by Comelec to be genuine. An examination of the certifications of Comelec officials and signature sheets submitted by petitioners to the Comelec show that:
â€¢ In many legislative districts, Comelec officials did not verify whether the signatures in the initiative petition were genuine.
â€¢ In many districts where a verification was conducted, Comelec officials only verified the names of signatories, not their signatures.
â€¢ In many legislative districts, the verification was conducted not by Comelec officials but by barangay officials;
â€¢ In one certification, the Comelec official said most of the signatures were fabricated.
â€¢ Many signatures found in the signature sheets are fake.
â€¢ The number of signatures verified to be genuine (by barangay officials, not Comelec officers) does not tally with the number of signatures in the certification of some Comelec officials.
In questioning the form and substance of the petition filed by Sigaw ng Bayan, One Voice chairman Christian Monsod said that his group is not engaged in mudslinging but in a well-meaning advocacy to ensure that the Constitution is followed by those who wish to amend or revise the Charter.
â€œOne Voice stands by its findings and legal arguments and would be happy to show and explain these to our people in any public forum. We also see the need to ask the government: Given the overwhelming problems of the country, why even contemplate or suggest that we spend P2 Billion in taxpayersâ€™ money on a plebiscite based on a fake peopleâ€™s initiative?â€, One Voice officials said.
The group averred that petitioners Lambino and Aumentado have no legal capacity to file the peopleâ€™s initiative petition as they do not represent the 6.3 M registered voters who allegedly signed the proposal to change the Constitution.
â€œThere is no proof that they have been authorized by the people to file the petition in their behalf. On the contrary, they have admitted they are acting in behalf of certain interest groups that include top government officials,â€ One Voice said in its memorandum to the Supreme Court.
Moreover, One Voice pointed out:
â€œThe changes proposed by the petitioners (i.e. from a bicameral-presidential to unicameral-parliamentary system) are not mere amendments, but constitute a revision of the Constitution, and are therefore not the proper subject of an initiative. If the changes are allowed, the new constitution would be a mishmash of incomplete, senseless, conflicting, unintelligible, absurd and hidden provisions. And the Filipino people will have a document which will give rise to great political and economic turmoil because it is unintelligible.â€