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Digest of Justice Velascos separate opinion LAMBINO V.

COMELEC The wisdom of Charter Change does not concern the court. The Court must only review the validity of the step taken by the proponents of Charter Change, which is the Peoples Initiative, as set down in Article XVII, Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution. o Article XVII, Sec. 2: Amendments to the Constitution directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of registered voters therein. No amendment shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years. Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. In the Santiago case, the Court held that Republic Act No. 6735 or The Initiative and Referendum Act was inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Thus, it determined that Congress had not provided for the implementation of the exercise of the peoples initiative. I must disagree. Republic Act No. 6735 is the proper law for proposing constitutional amendments. o The difficult construction of the law should not serve to frustrate the intent of the framers: to give the people the power to propose amendments as they saw fit. o The intent of the legislature is the controlling factor. o The intent of the legislature was clear. o RA 6735 was declared inadequate. It was not specifically struck down or declared unconstitutional. It is still valid though considered inadequate in the Santiago case. The Courts ruling in the Santiago case does not bar the present petition because the fallo in the Santiago case is limited to the Delfin petition. o The fallo states: Declaring RA 6735 inadequate The TRO issued on 18 December 1996 is made permanent as against the Commission on Elections, but is lifted against private respondents. o The court opined: the COMELEC should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition or initiative on amendments on the Constitution o When there is conflict between the fallo or dispositive portion and the opinion of the court, the former prevails over the latter. Execution is based on the disposition, not on the body. o The disposition categorically made permanent the TRO issued against the COMELEC but did not formally incorporate therein any directive permanently enjoining COMELEC from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for

initiative on amendments. COMELEC still retains its jurisdiction to take cognizance of any petition on initiative under RA 6735. Amendment or Revision o The Lambino petition is merely an attempt to amend the Constitution. The term amendment has to be liberally construed as to effectuate the peoples efforts to amend the Constitution. o As Dean Vicente G. Sinco explained: the factor that characterizes it as an act of revision is the original intention and plan authorized to be carried out ... o The Lambino petition is not concerned with rewriting the entire Constitution. It was never its intention to revise the Constitution. It merely concerns itself with amending a few provisions in our fundamental charter. o When there are gray areas in legislation, courts must lean more towards a more liberal interpretation favoring the peoples right to exercise their sovereign power. Conclusion o Sovereignty residing in the people is the highest form of sovereignty. It is not something that can be overruled, set aside, ignored or stomped over by whatever amount of technicalities, blurred or vague provisions of the law. o Initiative filed by the petitioners should be remanded to the COMELEC for determination whether or not the petition is sufficient under RA 6735, and if the petition is sufficient, to schedule and hold the necessary plebiscite as required by RA 6735.