Bato dares people behind ‘politicians’ initiative’: Make amends to Filipinos

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OFFICE OF SENATOR RONALD “BATO” DELA ROSA

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Tuesday challenged the individuals behind what he called “politicians’ initiative” to make amends to the Filipino people who were deceived to sign the petition seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution. 

“I call on the persons behind this deceptive and fraudulent people’s initiative: Make amends. Not to our Constitution, but to the people, our people, whom you have maliciously enticed to unknowingly sell their future,” Dela Rosa said in a privilege speech during Tuesday’s plenary session. 

“The Senate will not allow and will therefore condemn any form of threat, coercion or bribery that compromises the future of our country and our people,” he added. 

The Mindanaoan lawmaker reiterated that he acknowledges the true voice of the people in amending the 1987 Constitution, but he will not support any people’s initiative that is “being bastardized by enterprising politicians.”

“If the ill-intentioned have done their part in attempting to distort and destroy the very spirit of initiative, I implore this Senate: let us not allow such distortion to succeed. Let us take the initiative, so to speak, to protect our people from sinister motives. Protect, most, especially, the ones who are unable to do it for themselves,” he said. 

The former top cop also questioned the move of some lawmakers to push for the People’s Initiative when two of the three methods for Constitutional Reforms need concurrence from the Congress, namely, the Constituent Assembly and the Constitutional Convention.

“Bakit po kaya hindi gamitin ng mga politician na nagsusulong ng “Politician’s Initiative” ang dalawang pamamaraan na nasa Konstitusyon kung gusto nilang baguhin ang ating Saligang Batas? Bakit hindi pa sapat sa ilang mga mambabatas na mapagkalooban ng dalawang pagpipilian para baguhin ang Konstitusyon? Kailangan ba na pati ang direktang inilaan para sa ating mga mamamayan ay kukunin at gagamitin ng mga gahamang politico,” the lawmaker said.

He likewise called on the Filipinos who were forced to sign the petition in exchange of money to come forward and vowed that the Senate will help them in seeking accountability against those who took advantage of the vulnerable ones. 

“Nakagagalit na silang mga bulnerable ang palaging target ng panlilinlang ng mga pulitikong may mga pansariling motibo. Nakakapanlumong isipin kung paano sinamantala ang kahirapan sa buhay ng mga mamamayan, para lamang sa pansariling kapakanan ng mga nasa kapangyarihan,” Dela Rosa said. 

“This is an insult and outright affront to the space, duly afforded to us by the Constitution, a space intended to accommodate our people’s capacity to introduce reforms,” he pointed out. 

Dela Rosa delivered a privilege speech the same day the Senate issued a manifesto condemning the ongoing people’s initiative that seeks to amend Article 17, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and allow members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote jointly in a constituent assembly.

The lawmaker earlier pointed out that this people’s initiative will erode the checks and balances in the bicameral system of the Legislative Department.

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