Davao del Norte 1st district Rep Pantaleon Alvarez is planning to file a petition before the Supreme Court to question the ongoing people’s initiative (PI) to amend the 1987 Constitution.
In an online interview, Alvarez disclosed that he is currently gathering evidence to support his petition.
“Siguradong magfa-file ako diyan,” Alvarez said.
“Bilang isang abogado, nangangalap din ako ng mga ebidensya. Habang ginagawa nila yung mga pagpapapirma ngayon, dino-document ko rin para pagdating ng oras, kung kinakailangan akong mag-file ng petition din sa Supreme Court questioning yung itong ginagawa nilang pagpapapirma sa taumbayan, gagawin ko. At meron akong mga attachments,” he added.
This came a day after senators said they will be questioning the people’s initiative before the Supreme Court.
Alvarez said this was a “good development” and that he would welcome senators who would want to join his petition.
When asked if fellow congressmen are welcome to join as well, he replied,“Hindi ko alam. Kasi sana yung aking mga kasamahan sa House of Representatives ay manindigan na at huwag tayong matatakot dito sa ginagawa nung liderato.”
When asked when he intended to file his petition, Alvarez said it was a matter of timing.
“Hhintayin ko yung finile na nila yung mga signatures. Nandoon na sa Comelec ngayon local dito sa amin. Titingnan natin kasi subject to verification naman yung mga signatures. Ita-timing natin kung kailan tama yung pagfa-file,” said Alvarez.
“Hindi naman pwedeng maagang-maaga kasi baka may sabihin naman ang Supreme Court. Puwede nilang i-dismiss yon dahil sabihin nila na not right for adjudication,” he explained.
Alvarez, a former speaker during the Duterte administration, was previously a proponent of charter change and pushed for a shift to a federal form of government.
But he is questioning the current people’s initiative because of alleged corruption amid reports that people were offered social aids in exchange for their signature.
“Sa observation ko lang, even dito sa probinsya ng Davao del Norte, hindi siya sumusunod sa proseso na tama. Malinaw ang sinabi ni (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia na kinakailangan, yung signatures makuha nang walang kahit na anong kapalit,” Alvarez said.
“Eh dito ang ginagawa nila, ginagamit yung AICS (Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations.) Pinamimigay pagkatapos papipirmahin yung tao,” claimed Alvarez.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development had earlier said it will investigate reports that its AICS program was being used for PI.
Alvarez also took a swipe at Speaker Martin Romualdez whom he claims is behind the people’s initiative, which he described as “TI.”
“Sa akin TI yan,” he said. “Tambaloslos initiative… Alam naman natin isa lang ang tambaloslos sa buong Pilipinas, itong si (House Speaker) Martin Romualdez. Kanyang initiative lang yan. Dahil alam niyo, ang pera na ginagamit diyan, AICS, unlimited.”
Among Visayans, “tambaloslos” referred to a greedy mythical creature that had a large mouth and led people astray.
Romualdez had repeatedly denied he or any other congressman was involved in people’s initiative.
“While the House respects and supports the People’s Initiative as an independent, citizen-driven process, our role is to facilitate and encourage democratic participation without direct involvement in signature collection,” Romualdez previously said.
“Wala namang kriminal na umaamin eh. De-deny yan hangga’t puwedeng i-deny,” Alvarez countered.
GMA News Online has sought the comment of Romualdez camp on Alvarez’ claims but was told to refer to his previous statements on the matter.
“Itong Cha-cha, ito ay para sa Pilipino. Hindi para sa kongresista, hindi para sa Presidente, hindi para sa Senado,” Romualdez said on Tuesday.
—VAL, GMA Integrated News
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