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'It slipped my mind' PIRMA convenor admits coordinating with Romualdez to get signature for Cha-cha agenda
'It slipped my mind' PIRMA convenor admits coordinating with Romualdez to get signature for Cha-cha agenda
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'It slipped my mind' PIRMA convenor admits coordinating with Romualdez to get signature for Cha-cha agenda
by Christhel Cuazon30 January 2024
Photo screenshot from Senate of the Philippines

People's Initiative for Modernization and Reform Action (PIRMA) lead convenor Noel Oñate admitted before the Senate on Tuesday that he sought the help of House Speaker Martin Romualdez in their signature drive for the people's initiative (PI) for Charter change (Cha-cha).

Prior to this, Oñate said he had no coordination with Romualdez and said to have only met House Constitutional Amendments chairman Rufus Rodriguez and former Ako-Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin in planning for PI to push to amend the 1987 Constitution and said

However, during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, the convenor recanted his previous statements after Senator Imee Marcos presented a photo of him with Romualdez, Ako-Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co, and several lawyers with a caption “People’s Initiative for Charter Change Staff Meeting” dated January 8, 2024.

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"He [Romualdez] is all out behind the People's Initiative, is that correct?" Marcos asked.

To which Oñate replied: "Yes we coordinate with the speaker and the congressmen in getting the three percent per congressional district. That's correct, madam senator."

He further explained that he was the one who initiated the meeting, but it was agreed to hold it at the residence of the House Speaker.

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When asked why he did not mention Romualdez and Co during the interpelletion of Senator Francis Escudero, the PIRMA lead convenor said “It slipped my mind.”

Oñate said that they did discuss an estimated timeline to finish the PI push, adding that while they can proceed with the process on their own, it would be slower without the help of congressmen.

"Mas mabilis kung may tulong ng kongresista pinpointing to us where to get the signatures," he added.

The signature campaign led by PIRMA asks voters if they are in favor of amending Article 17 Section 1 of the Constitution by allowing all members of Congress to jointly vote on proposed constitutional amendments.

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The House of Representatives (HOR) and the Senate have differing stands when amending the 37-year-old Constitution.

The Senate recently issued a manifesto strongly expressing their opposition to the ongoing attempts to change the 1987 Constitution through a PI.

In the manifesto, the Senate expressed strong objections to eliminating the Upper Chamber’s role in introducing amendments or even overhauling the Constitution.

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