5.9M signatures needed for initiative vs 'pork'

by Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

October 9, 2013

MANILA – Groups in Cebu kicked off on Wednesday efforts for a “peoples’ initiative” that seeks to collect 5.7 million signatures for a petition to scrap the pork barrel system.

The 5.7 million signatures needed are equivalent to 10% of the 52 million registered voters in the recent 2013 elections, as required by law.

But this early, some are cynical about the idea. University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque said petition-signing is just one part of a long and tedious process.

The petition will be submitted to Commission on Elections, which will verify the signatures against the book of voters, voters’ list, and voters’ IDs. After verification, a resolution will be issued and published in national dailies to inform the public of a forthcoming plebiscite.

In the plebiscite, the public will decide if the petition is acceptable. Roque said the number of signatures is not enough as the Constitution requires that it has to represented by at least 3% of the number of voters in every legislatvie districts.

Even if the petition gets signed and delivered Thursday morning, the Comelec cannot act on it. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the people’s initiative is too premature. Vince Lazatin of the Transparency and Accountability Network, who is one of many volunteers behind the “Million People March,” is half-hearted about the people’s initiative.

What Lazatin is pushing instead is to encourage people to be assertive in holding government officials accountable in spending people’s money.

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