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PIA Press Release
2006/10/19

Rep. Mercado shares post-initiative scenario

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (19 October) -- Whatever the decision of the Supreme Court on the People's Initiative issue, there will be elections in 2007.

This was the view painted by Rep. Roger Mercado regarding political developments after the much-awaited ruling of the high tribunal which is expected very soon.

People's Initiative was one of the three ways prescribed in changing the Constitution -- now widely known by the all familiar phrase "Charter Change" or Cha-Cha for short -- a manner which was being pushed by Sigaw Ng Bayan and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).

The two other ways are for Congress to convene as a Constituent Assembly or a Constitutional Convention where the delegates are to be elected.

Rep. Mercado told DYDM's news anchor Zaldy Olita in an interview that if the High Court rules favorably on the initiative petition, a referendum-plebiscite can be scheduled in the months of January, 2007, asking the people's opinion whether or not they would approve the change in form of government from presidential to parliamentary.

In such a case, the polls would have to be moved in November rather than in May, he said.

If the tribunal rules on the negative, then Congress had to work out on the Constituent Assembly which is a long process, and so the political exercise can be held as scheduled in May, Cong. Mercado added.

Political observers, however, see a much longer timeline, as the ruling of the Supreme Court, one way or the other, would have to be appealed by the adversely affected parties for a reconsideration.

The solon said the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on October 26 on the people's initiative issue.

But Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban was quoted in an Inquirer report, October 19 issue, as saying they may work until Sunday, October 29, to give time and discuss more closely among the Justices their take on the issue. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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