Former lawmaker maintains that constitutional amendments through People’s Initiative are legally grounded as proposal gains support from Albay mayors

Former Congressman Refutes Albay Representative’s Claims on People’s Initiative for Charter Change

In a recent statement, former Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. challenged Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman’s assertion that Charter change (Cha-cha) through People’s Initiative (PI) does not have a “compliant implementing law.” Garbin, a former nominee of Ako Bicol Party-list in the House of Representatives, believes that it is lawful for constitutional amendments to be directly proposed by the Filipino people.

Garbin cited Republic Act (RA) No.6735, the enabling law implementing the power of People’s Initiative to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution, as the legal basis for this mode of constitutional revision. He emphasized that ten Supreme Court justices have reiterated their earlier opinions that RA No.6735 is sufficient and adequate as an enabling law to amend the Constitution through a people’s initiative.

The former congressman also pointed out that Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban and Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago and Adolfo S. Azcuna joined their dissenting colleagues in ruling that RA 6735 suffices as an enabling law to implement the constitutional provision on people’s initiative.

On the other hand, Lagman, a self-styled independent minority congressman, noted that there was no compliant implementing law for constitutional amendments via PI based on the SC’s ruling in Santiago v. Comelec.

The issue was brought to light as the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Albay Chapter is advocating for Charter change through People’s Initiative, with a majority of the province’s mayors expressing support for the ongoing signature drive to petition for constitutional amendments. LMP President and Polangui Mayor Adrian Salceda announced that 15 of the province’s 18 mayors joined the discussions, highlighting the urgent need for constitutional amendments that reflect the evolving dynamics of society.

Garbin and current Ako Bicol nominee, Rep. Raul Angelo ‘Jil’ Bongalon, were invited as resource persons during the meeting to discuss the legal basis for People’s Initiative in proposing constitutional amendments.

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