February 29, 2024

The Commission on Elections urged Filipinos to be wary of the documents they are signing.

Comelec Chairperson George Erwin Garcia made the remark on Jan. 18 following reports of gathering of signatures in different areas across the country in support of constitutional reform through the People’s Initiative (PI).

“Even in our ordinary lives, you don’t just sign documents without knowing what it is for. You should do it voluntarily and fully understand their implications,” he said in an interview.

Garcia believes that Filipinos are smart enough to distinguish “what is right and what is wrong”.

“Just be vigilant and always consider in everything you do what is best for the nation,” he said.

Garcia said those having second thoughts after affixing their signatures to documents linked to the PI can still withdraw.

Local Comelec offices are ready to remove their signatures after making their respective manifestations, he added.

“There is nothing preventing anyone from stating that they didn’t understand what they signed for and that they would want to withdraw their signatures. The local Comelec will take note of these manifestations and cause their removal. The Comelec has the power to remove signatures. It is within our power to determine the regularity of these signatures gathered,” Garcia said.

The Comelec on Jan. 17 reported that some 300 city/municipal Offices of Election Officers have started receiving signature pages for the proposed PI.

The PI is one of three ways to amend the Constitution, aside from constitutional convention and constituent assembly.

Under the PI, petitions for constitutional reform should be backed by at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters, which must also include three percent of the total voting population of a legislative district. – PNA