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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES REGIONAL TRIAL COURT JUDICIAL REGION BRANCH __, QUEZON CITY

PEOPLESMARCHrepresentedbyFORMER VICEPRESIDENTTEOFISTOGUINGONA, BAYANrepresentedbyDR.CAROLARAULLO, KILUSANGMAGBUBUKIDNGPILIPINAS(KMP) RepresentedbyWILFREDOMARBELLA, COUNSELSFORTHEDEFENSEOF LIBERTIES(CODAL)representedbyREMEDIOSBALBIN, RENATOREYESJr.,CRISTINAMANALOand NERIJAVIERCOLMENARES


Petitioners, - versus -

SCA No. ________________ Prohibition with prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Injunction

TheCOMMISSIONONELECTIONS OFFICEOFQUEZONCITY,MA.RHODORA AQUINO(ElectionOfficerofDistrictIII), ATTY.MA.LEAALARCON(ElectionOfficer OfDistrictII),EVANGELYNBAUTISTA, (ElectionOfficerofDistrictIV), FLORINADEGUIA(ElectionOfficerof DistrictI),andDIR.FERDINANDRAFANAN (ComelecNCRDirector)


Respondents. x -------------------------------------------------------- x

PETITION
PETITIONERS, by counsel, respectfully state:

PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

PREFATORY
NOTINOURNAME.So many acts committed on behalf of the Filipino
people. Executive Order No. 464. Calibrated Preemptive Response. Proclamation No. 1017. And now a peoples initiative to revise the Constitution for the benefit of the people. How the people will benefit through the creation of an unelected parliament, giving Pres. Arroyo the power to dissolve parliament, extending terms of public officials, selling private lands to foreigners, allowing transnational corporations to exploit our natural resources, deletion of the Constitutions nuclear weapons free policy, can never be explained.

NOTINOURNAME.NEVERINOURNAME.

NATURE OF THE PETITION


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This is a petition for prohibition filed pursuant to the provision of Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, with prayer for temporary restraining order and writ of injunction to stop respondent Commission on Elections of Quezon City and individual Comelec personnel from verifying signatures gathered by Sigaw ng Bayan, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and other public officials and individuals in the ongoing peoples initiative to revise the 1987 Constitution. This Petition prays for the issuance of a Writ of Prohibition to permanently prohibit the respondent COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS of QUEZON CITY, THE NCR COMELEC REGIONAL DIRECTOR, INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENT ELECTION OFFICERS and others who may be entrusted with the task of verifying signatures, from conducting any form of verification of alleged signatures in connection with or relating to an on-going Peoples Initiative for the purpose of proposing revision to the Constitution, for being contrary to law, the Constitution and existing jurisprudence, and with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or absence of jurisdiction. Petitioners further pray of this Honorable Court for the issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER to enjoin and restrain the respondent COMELEC Quezon City, Comelec Regional Director, Election Officers and any and all persons acting for and on their behalf from conducting and undertaking a supposed verification of signatures until after this Honorable Court shall have resolved this Petition. The utmost urgency of this Petition is brought about by the fact that despite being contrary to law and existing Supreme Court decisions,

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

respondent Comelec ELECTION OFFICERS have admitted that they shall be proceeding with the supposed verification process, and in fact are doing so, which will render the instant petition moot and academic, and at the same time, substantial government funds paid by taxpayers like the petitioners will be put to waste, unless this Honorable Court grants the instant petition and/or issues a writ of prohibition and in the meanwhile issue a temporary restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction.
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There is no other plain, adequate and speedy remedy for petitioners as the respondents have admitted to undersigned counsel that a Memorandum has been issued by Respondent NCR Director [Attached as Annex A is a certified true copy of that Memorandum attaching therein a copy of the Memorandum of Comm. Romeo Brawner] Comm. Felix Brawner authorizing respondent election officers to conduct verification [As Annex A-1] to wit: xxx
The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The Petition then is the initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only participation of the Comelec and its personnel before the filing of such petition are (1) to prescribe the form of the petition; (2) to issue through its Election Records and Statistics a certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district; (3) to assist through its election registrars, in the establishment of signature stations,; and (4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures on the basis of the registry of voters, voters affidavits and voters identification cards used in the immediately preceding election. The abovequoted decision allows the Commission to verify the signatures of registered voters as it is one of its functions as an administrativebody. In view of the foregoing, allelection field officers,upon request are herebyauthorizedtodothefollowing:

1. Issueacertificationastothetotalnumberofregisteredvotersineachlegis lativedistrict 2. assistinterestedpartiesintheestablishmentofsignaturestations 3. verifythesignaturesonthebasisoftheregistrylistofvoters,votersaf fidavitsandvotersidentificationcardsusedintheimmediatelypreced ingelection. Fordisseminationandstrictcompliance RomeoBrawner CommissionerinCharge RegionsII,III,andV

PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

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Petitioners through petitioner and undersigned counsel Neri Javier Colmenares informed respondent Election Officers that they will be violating the Constitution and the Supreme Court permanent injunction in Santiago in order to dissuade them from verifying the subject signatures. In fact, petitioner and undersigned counsel Colmenares went to the each of the district offices of respondent Election Officers at different times to inquire as to the status of the verification and ask them not to violate the Constitution by not conducting the same but to no avail. He was informed during his various talks with individual respondent Election Officers that they intend to verify the signatures upon receipt of orders from the Commission on Elections. The argument of this petition is that any such action is void for being contrary to law and public policy, that is, the Constitution and other laws, and the ruling in Defensor-Santiago et al. v. Commission on Elections et al., [G.R. No. 127325, March 19, 1997 and 270 SCRA 106]. It is therefore imperative for this Honorable Court to grant the instant petition and put a stop to scheme to violate the fundamental law to suit the interest of a few and the misappropriation and waste of public funds towards that end.

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PARTIES
2.1

Petitioner PEOPLES MARCH is a broad coalition of individual taxpayers or voters and organizations advocating against the proposed Charter Change. It is represented by its Convenor Former Vice President TEOFISTO GUINGONA. As a citizen, taxpayer, and registered voter, Vice President Teofisto Guingona is also a Petitioner in his individual capacity. BAYAN is a peoples organization composed of individual taxpayersvoters and organizations who are active in the advocacy of important national issues. BAYAN is a party to many Supreme Court petitions on the constitutionality of the Calibrated Pre-Emptive Response (CPR) and Batas Pambansa 880 (An Act Ensuring the Free Exercise by the People of their Right Peaceably to Assemble and Petition the Government and for Other Purposes) and Proclamation 1017 (Declaration of State of National Emergency). It is represented in this Petition by its Chairperson DR. CAROL ARAULLO, who is also a citizen, taxpayer and a registered voter in Quezon City.

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

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The KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP) is a national peasants organization that will be directly injured if the peoples initiative was given cognizance and the Constitution is accordingly changed. It is represented by its Vice-Chairman WILFREDO MARBELLA who is also a citizen and tax payer. The Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL) is a group of lawyers and civil libertarians whose main advocacy is the protection of the peoples constitutional rights including civil and political rights. It is composed of tax payers and registered voters who have interest in both the disbursement of public funds and Comelec actions that will affect their right to vote in any election or plebiscite. It is represented by its Convenor REMEDIOS BALBIN, a citizen, taxpayer and member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines of Quezon City. ATTY. NERI JAVIER COLMENARES, is a bona fide member of the Philippine Bar and necessarily a citizen and taxpayer of this country. Both Atty. Balbin and Colmenares are interested not only in the disbursement of public funds but also, as a member of the Bar, in the implementation of the Supreme Courts ruling in Santiago vs. Comelec. As citizen, both is entitled to defend and advance the rule of law. As taxpayer, both have the right to question government action that misspends their contributions to the State coffers. RENATO REYES JR. is a citizen, taxpayer and a registered voter of Quezon City. CRISTINA MANALO, the Vice-President of the Quezon City PSTA, is a citizen and a registered voter of Quezon City. All the Petitioners, who are Filipinos and of legal age, have standing to question the disbursement of public funds as taxpayers in the so called peoples initiative, the violation of the Constitution and the Supreme Courts decision in Santiago vs. Comelec as citizens, and in the outcome of the instant controversy so as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which this Honorable Court could decide the issues raised herein. As taxpayers, petitioners have standing to sue because public money would be deflected to an improper purpose, that is, the unlawful, unconstitutional and immoral exercise of peoples initiative. Furthermore, all of the petitioners, as citizens, will be injured if Respondents are allowed to verify and accept the Petition to revise the Constitution through the subject peoples initiative because Petitioners will no longer be able to exercise their right to amend the Constitution through a genuine peoples initiative within five years from the date that such an unconstitutional and illegal initiative was given cognizance by respondents.

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

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Petitioners may be served orders and other processes through their counsel of record, ATTY. MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN, ATTY. NERI JAVIER COLMENARES, and ATTY. CAROL MERCADO at No. 153 Scout Rallos, Kamuning District, Quezon City. RESPONDENT Commission on Elections of Quezon City is the government agency tasked to administer elections, plebiscites, and referenda within Quezon City. It may be served court processes at the Commission on Elections Office, Quezon City Hall, Quezon City. RESPONDENTS Comelec Election Officers FLORINA DE GUIA is the head of Comelec Quezon City for District I, ATTY. MA. LEA ALARCON is the head of Comelec Quezon City District II, MA. RHODORA AQUINO is the head of Comelec Quezon City District III and EVANGELYN BAUTISTA is the head of Comelec Quezon City District IV, and are all tasked with administering elections, plebiscite and referenda in their respective districts. They may be served court processes at the Commission on Elections of Quezon City, Quezon City Hall, Quezon City. RESPONDENT National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Director FERDINAND RAFANAN is the head of the NCR Comelec and also tasked with administering elections, plebiscites, and referenda within the National Capital Region. He may be served court processes in the Office of the NCR Regional Director, Commission on Elections, Room 218 Femii Annex Bldg., Andres Soriano Blvd., Intramuros, Manila. The respondents are tasked with undertaking the verification of the signatures in connection with the peoples initiative being conducted by various organizations and individuals.

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STATEMENT
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During the period of March and April 2006, the media reported that a nationwide campaign was being conducted to gather signatures for a peoples initiative to revise the Constitution. It was further reported that Sigaw ng Bayan went around barangays in Quezon City collecting signatures on forms attached hereto as Annex B. Also attached in the forms ostensibly distributed upon authority of a memorandum from the Department of the Interior and Local Government is form entitled Guidelines for Signature Solicitors attached as Annex C, C-1, C-2 and C-3 respectively. The forms that go with the DILG kit even includes a Certification Form for the verified signatures titled Local Election Registrar Registration Certification attached as Annex D. During that period, Sigaw ng Bayan also publicly announced that it is bringing the collected signatures to the Commission on Elections in

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

various cities nationwide, as part of a peoples initiative and seeking the verification if its signatories are registered voters and asking for the authentication of the signatures it had gathered, [Attached as Annex E are public pronouncements of Sigaw ng Bayan ]to wit:
Sigaw ng Bayan is pressing ahead with the verification of 5.6 million signatures it had gathered. We are now in the process of having the signatures verified with the municipal, city and provincial election registrars. We are verifying signatures as we are gathering them, Sigaw ng Bayan spokesperson Raul Lambino said in a phone interview. [As Annex E-1] 3.4

During that same period The Commission on Elections through its Chairman Benjamin Abalos publicly stated through print and television interviews that the COMELEC has the power to conduct verification despite the ruling in Santiago vs. COMELEC since the verification is not part of the petition [Attached as Annex F are Comelec pronouncements in the March 20, 2006 article of the Philippine Star), to wit:
The Comelecs law department officials and regional directors have agreed that verification can be done immediately since it is only a part of the initiatory steps leading to the formal petition for initiative, he said. Abalos pointed out that the Comelecs decision to verify signatures before entertaining the petition is merely intended to speed up the work if the petition pushes through.[As Annex F-1]

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Chairman Abalos reiterated this Comelec decision in the March 29, 2006 headlines of the Philippine Daily Inquirer [Attached as Annex G] to wit:
Commission on Election Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr., yesterday gave local registrars the go-signal to verify the signatures of the people calling for charter change. Xxx But Abalos said he did not believe his instruction to the registrars would be in violation of the high courts ruling. xxx Said Abalos: before the petition is filed, the Comelec can only prescribe the form of the petition; issue certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district; assist, through its election registrars in the establishment of signature stations; and verify through its election registrars the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters. [As Annex G1]

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This statement was made despite the admission by retired Court of Appeals Justice Romeo Brawner, that respondent Commission has no recourse but to dismiss any initiative petition once it is filed before the COMELEC [Attached as Annex H is an ABS CBN report dated 15 April 2006], thus:
Brawner said the petition must be dismissed adding that as soon as the petition is filed in the COMELEC, We have no recourse but to dismiss that petition so that anybody adversely affected can go to the Supreme Court.

PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

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Respondent COMELEC officials of QUEZON CITY have confirmed the receipt of the Memorandum of both Dir. Rafanan and Comm. Brawner and further confirmed that they intend to conduct verification of the said signatures upon orders of COMELEC. Undersigned counsel Neri Javier Colmenares spoke with Comelec personnel Karina Derequito and respondent District Election Officers who confirmed receipt of the signature forms from Sigaw ng Bayan. Hence, COMELEC plans to use taxpayers money to execute an act that has no basis in law and the Constitution, essentially unfunded under the General Appropriations Act, and declared categorically as illegal in Defensor-Santiago et al. v. Commission on Elections et al., supra. Unless restrained and permanently enjoined, the Commission on Elections will continue its unwarranted actions and waste more resources at the expense of other important and budgeted government expenditures.

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ARGUMENTS
1. Thereisnolawauthorizingapeoplesinitiativeinclearviolation

ofSection2,ArticleXVIIoftheConstitutionwhichrequiresa law for the exercise of the right to amend the Constitution through a peoples initiative. Any act of respondents in entertaining a petition on the peoples initiative, verifying signatures or other preparatory acts for such a petition is thereforeaclearviolationoftheConstitutionandtherulingin DefensorSantiagoetal.v.CommissiononElectionsetal.,which declaredthethenexistinglawasunconstitutional. 2. COMELEC is permanently enjoined from entertaining any petitiontoamendtheConstitutionthroughapeoplesinitiative. Respondentsthereforearewastingandinfact,misappropriating public funds in verifying signatures and conducting acts in preparationtotheverificationofsignaturesforapetitionthat Respondentswillultimatelydismiss.
3.

SincethecurrentPeoplesInitiativeseekstorevisethe1987 Constitution,itviolatestheconstitutionalprovisionthatdoesnot allowapeoplesinitiativetorevisetheConstitutionbutonlyto amendthesame.Respondentsactofverifyingsignaturesfora peoplesinitiativethatwillrevisetheConstitutioninviolation oftheconstitutionalprohibition,isinitselfinviolationofthe Constitution.

PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

4.

Presuming the validity of RA 6735 (The Initiative and Referendum Act), the Comelec cannot verify signatures in a petitionwhichinitselfiscontrarytotheprovisionsofRA6735, includingtherequirementthatthepeoplesinitiativeshallonly dealwithnotmorethanonesubject.

DISCUSSION
I. There is no law authorizing a peoples initiative in clear violationofSection2,ArticleXVIIoftheConstitutionwhich requires a law for the exercise of the right to amend the Constitution through a peoples initiative. Any act of respondentsinentertainingapetitiononthepeoplesinitiative orverifyingsignaturesforsuchapetitionisthereforeaclear violation of the Constitution and the ruling in Defensor Santiago et al. v. Commission on Elections et al., which invalidatedthethenexistinglawasunconstitutional.

The foregoing argument is so easy to follow. The peoples initiative provision in the Constitution, that is, Art. XVII, Sec. 2, is not self-executory It requires an enabling statute to be effective: The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. The Supreme Court thus declared in the landmark case of DefensorSantiago et al. v. Commission on Elections et al., (270 SCRA 106]:
This provision is not self-executory. In his book, Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, stated: Without implementing legislation Section 2 cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of amending the Constitution is a mode of amendment which bypasses congressional action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional action. Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche of the Constitution until Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the Constitution has recognized or granted that right, the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation.

PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

The Supreme Court in Santiago found RA 6735 unconstitutional declared that there is no law implementing this constitutional provision :
xxx R.A. No 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. The lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be cured by empowering the Comelec to promulgate such rules and regulation as may be necessary to carry out the purpose of [the] Act.

and

This was reiterated by Chief Justice Hilario Davide in the motion for reconsideration of the PIRMA et al vs. COMELEC et al case [GR No. 129754, September 23, 1997]:
Simply put, Santiago did, in reality declare as unconstitutional that portion of RA 6735 relating to Constitutional initiatives for failure to comply with the completeness and sufficient standards tests with respect to permissible delegation of legislative power or subordinate legislation. However petitioners attempt to twist the language in Santiago, the conclusion is inevitable: the portion of RA 6735 pertinent to the dispute was held to be unconstitutional.

In fact, the Supreme Court in Santiago permanently enjoined respondents from entertaining any petition for amendments to the Constitution through a peoples initiative until a law is passed:
The COMELEC should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments on the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system

Since the Constitution requires a law for the exercise of a peoples initiative and since no law has been passed to regulate the exercise thereof, no petition for initiative is valid, and any verification of signatures for such an invalid, unconstitutional and illegal petition is also invalid and in violation of various laws and the Constitution. Executive officials including DILG personnel involved in any initiative petition, signature gathering or submission of the same with the Comelec are also liable under the Revised Penal Code for openly refusing to execute a judgment, decision or order of a superior authority under Article 231 and obstructing execution of any order or decision rendered by any judge within its jurisdiction under Article 241.
II.

COMELECispermanentlyenjoinedfromentertainingany petition to amend the Constitution through a peoples initiative. Respondents therefore are in contempt of the Supreme Court for violating the permanent injunction in Santiago,andwastingandinfact,misappropriatingpublic

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funds in verifying signatures and conducting acts in preparation to the verification of signatures for a petition thatRespondentswillultimatelydismiss.
The Supreme Court in Santiago, permanently enjoined respondents from entertaining any petition for amendments to the Constitution through a peoples initiative until a law is passed:
The COMELEC should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments on the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system

In fact, Respondent Dir. Rafanan quoted the dispositive portion of Santiago in his Memorandum 2006-169 dated 29 March 2006 sent to respondent election officers, [Attached as Annex I] to wit:
For your added information on the matter of peoples initiativequoted hereunder is the dispositive portion of the Supreme Courts decision, in the cited case. Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered: a. x x x b. Declaring RA 6735 inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendment to the Constitution, and to have failed to provide sufficient standards for subordinate legislation; c. Declaring void those parts of Resolution No. 2300 of the COMELEC prescribing regulations in the conduct of the initiative or amendments to the Constitution xxx The temporary restraining order issued on 18 December 1996 is made permanent as against COMELEC x x x. ATTY. FERDINAND RAFANAN Director IV

There is a permanent injunction against respondents by the Supreme Court. Any act or preparatory act of verifying signatures of an invalid, illegal, and unconstitutional petition is clearly in violation of the Supreme Court order, and in contempt of the Honorable Supreme Court. Respondents and supporters of this peoples initiative argue, in a futile attempt to justify their conduct, that Santiago allowed them to verify signatures. This misplaced focus on an obiter dictum rather than the substantive and dispositive portions of the decision is clearly misleading and cannot stand in court under this Petition for Prohibition or once respondents are criminally charged under the Revised Penal Code or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. In fact it has no legal or constitutional standing in any situation.

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It would appear that the COMELEC and other Respondents extend reliance on the following portion of the Decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Santiago vs. Comelec, supra, claiming that it actually allowed them to do preparatory acts before the filing of a petition. They, however, wittingly or unwittingly exclude quoting the entire provision. Petitioners will quote the entire portion, to wit:
Even if it be conceded ex gratia that R.A. No. 6735 is a full compliance with the power of Congress to implement the right to initiate constitutional amendments, or that it has validly vested upon the COMELEC the power of subordinate legislation and that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is valid, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining the Delfin Petition. Under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution and Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for initiative on the Constitution must be signed by at least 12% of the total number of registered voters of which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein. The Delfin Petition does not contain signatures of the required number of voters. Delfin himself admits that he has not yet gathered signatures and that the purpose of his petition is primarily to obtain assistance in his drive to gather signatures. Without the required signatures, the petition cannot be deemed validly initiated. The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The petition then is the initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only participation of the COMELEC or its personnel before the filing of such petition are (1) to prescribe the form of the petition; (2) to issue through its Election Records and Statistics Office a certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district; (3) to assist, through its election registrars, in the establishment of signature stations; and (4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters identification cards used in the immediately preceding election. (underscoring supplied)

It must be noted that this obiter was added only after RA 6735 and its implementing Resolution 2300 have been declared unconstitutional. It must be noted further, that this portion started with the phrase ex gratia or out of grace, clearly an obiter. The provision above cited by Comelec officials such as Chairman Abalos and the respondents starts with a presumption, Even if it be conceded ex gratia that R.A. No. 6735 is a full compliance with the power of Congress and that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is valid Therefore the authority of Comelec to do these acts is valid only if there is a valid law and there are valid implementing rules similar to the invalid Resolution 2300. Simply stated, if there is a valid enabling law the COMELEC can make verification of signatures and other data [but in conjunction with the establishment of

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SIGNATURE STATIONS]. However, considering the absence of a valid enabling law the permanent injunction in the Santiago case applies, AND AS SUCH IT permanently enjoins the COMELEC from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system. In this connection it must be emphasized that the permanent injunction equally applies to the preparatory acts, such as the verification of signatures and other data, because such acts form part of the petition process. Furthermore, such would only be an exercise in futility considering that no petition can be validly filed and entertained, such that the verification process is just part and parcel of the process of Initiative on the Constitution. ADDITIONALLY, the supposed verification of signature before the filing of any formal petition by the proponents, should be construed in direct relation to the OTHER requirement that the COMELEC must first assist, through its election registrars, in the establishment of signature stations.. stations where the signatures can at the same time, be verified on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters identification cards used in the immediately preceding election. In the current process, the respondents did not assist in the establishment of SIGNING STATIONS, where verification could simultaneously have been conducted. Since respondents did not see how the signature sheets were filled out, the verification of signatures is a decisive problem for respondents considering that respondents are not experts in verifying whether the signatures are one and the same with the voter registered in its Book of Voters. The contention of respondents, as seen the attached memorandum of Comm. Romeo Brawner, and the assertion of respondent Rhodora Aquino, for example, that the said Memorandum is correct, is fatally misplaced under the Constitution and the Supreme Court decision in Santiago.

III. Since the current Peoples Initiative seeks to revise the 1987Constitution,itviolatestheConstitutionalprovisionthatdoes notallowapeoplesinitiativetorevisetheConstitutionbutonlyto amend thesame. Respondentsactofverifyingsignaturesfora petitionofapeoplesinitiativethatwillrevisetheConstitution in violation of the Constitutional prohibition, are themselves in violationoftheConstitution.
Sections 1 and 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution provide:

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Sec. 1 Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by : (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; (2) A Constitutional Convention. SEC. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be 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 the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter.

The Constitution grants the Congress and the Constitutional Convention the power to amend or revise the Constitution. However, the peoples initiative is only granted the power to amend, not revise, the Constitution. As explained by retired Justice Isagani Cruz and Fr. Joaquin Bernas, while amendment pertains to a piecemeal change of one or two provisions of the Constitution, revision refers to an overhaul of the Constitution or changes in several provisions that will substantially change a constitutional framework or philosophy. The act of amending is different from the act of revising, otherwise the Constitution would not have used both concepts under Section 1 of Article XVII. This was how the Constitutional Commission intends it. The Constitution cannot be any clearer; we can amend, but not revise it, by Peoples Initiative. If we are just to change the retirement age of an official, anyone may initiate this change at the district level, as a simple amendment. It is like a hair transplant, purely cosmetic. The complex question of shifting from a bicameralpresidential system to a unicameral-parliamentary system is different. It calls for a heart transplant. As Justice Isagani A. Cruz says, changing a spark plug is an amendment, but an engine overhaul is something else. Initiative deals only with amendments, not with a revision, which is the complete overhaul of the entire Constitutional framework, either through a Constitutional Convention or by a Constituent Assembly where recorded debate and amendments, voted upon, are possible. The forms being circulated by barangay officials for signature provide that the signatories approve the proposal to amend Article VI, Article VII and the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution. Article VI contains thirty-two (32) sections, Art. VII contains twenty-three (23) sections and Art. XVIII of the 1987 Constitution on Transitory Provisions contain twenty-seven (27) sections, making it almost impossible for the signatories to approve such massive revision or deletion of eighty-two (82) constitutional provisions, especially if they have not read the actual proposed changes. Other than proposing a shift from the bicameral presidential system to a unicameral parliamentary system, the other provisions proposed under the peoples

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initiative subject of this Petition contain the following wholesale revisions under Paragraph 6 [C]:
a. Art. XVI, Section 4 (4) of the Proposed

revision:
Within forty-five days from ratification of these amendments, the interim Parliament shall convene to propose amendments to or revision of, this Constitution with the principles of local autonomy, decentralization and a strong bureaucracy.

This is a Congressional Constituent Assembly hiding behind a peoples initiative. The signatories may not know it, but they are actually proposing the creation of a Constituent Assembly to further revise the Constitution, right after the ratification of a new Constitution. Not only is the holding of two revision processes and two ratification plebiscites within two months of each other a complete waste of public funds, but, the signatories are actually approving something they do not know the contents of, since no one knows that the new parliaments constituent assembly will propose. Surely, the proposal to form a Constituent Assembly through a new parliament cannot be a mere amendment, but is in fact more than a revisionit is revision twice over, which a genuine peoples initiative (and even lawyers for that matter) cannot be expected to comprehend.
b. Section 4 (1) of the Proposed Revision: Sec. 4 (1) There shall exist upon the ratification of these amendments, an interim Parliament which shall continue until the members of the regular parliament shall have been elected and shall have qualified. Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the incumbent Members of the Cabinet who are heads of executive departments.

This provision makes unelected members of the Cabinet members of the legislature. This is not a mere amendment, but a revision as it is a substantial shift from the constitutional philosophy that only elected officials sit in the legislature .
a. Section 1 (1) of the Proposed Revision Sec. 1 (1) The incumbent President and Vice-President shall serve until the expiration of their term at noon on the thirtieth day of June 2010 and shall continue to exercise their powers under the 1987 Constitution unless impeached by a vote of two-thirds of all members of the interim parliament.

This provision contains two major components: it ensures the term of office of both the President and Vice President until 2010 and increases the votes required to impeach both officials from the current one-third to a staggering and impossible requirement of two-thirds vote. Surely, this is not a mere amendment but a substantial shift which will in fact have a major impact on the peoples plan to file

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

another impeachment complaint come July 2006. This is a major revision, not a simple and easy to understand amendment.
b. Section 4 (2) of the Proposed Revision Sec. 4 (2) Senators whose term of office ends in 2010 shall be Members of the Parliament until noon of the thirtieth of June 2010.

While all the members of the House of Representatives whose terms end in June 2007 will have their terms extended until 2010, those senators whose terms also end in 2007 are not extended. The ramifications, implications and explanations of this proposals cannot be easily comprehended by the signatories particularly the difference in treatment between congressmen whose terms end in 2007 and Senators whose terms also end in 2007. Note that in the PIRMA case, the question was simple: do you approve the abolition of term limits for the president. A peoples initiative can decide on such an issue without a complicated process. In sum, the logic behind the constitutional provision limiting the power of a peoples initiative to mere amendments is found on the fact that revisions of a staggering number of provisions may not be easily comprehended by a peoples initiative, and therefore the will of the people will not be reflected in the signing of the same. This is compounded by the fact that the so called initiative were signed without any explanation from those who campaign. There are many witnesses who will attest that barangay and DILG personnel who asked them to sign did not even know what the revisions were all about. This so called peoples initiative in fact did not come from the people nor will it benefit them. This initiative is driven by Sigaw ng Bayan headed by public officials and Malacaang appointees to the Constitutional Commission, mayors, governors and other local officials.

IV. Presuming the validity of RA 6735 (The Initiative and Referendum Act), the Comelec cannot verify signatures in a petitionwhichinitselfiscontrarytotheprovisionsofRA6735, including the requirement that the peoples initiative shall only dealwithnotmorethanonesubject.
The process followed by respondent Sigaw ng Bayan is itself contrary to the provisions of RA 6735 [presuming it is constitutional], the law erroneously cited by Sigaw ng Bayan as basis for its supposed peoples initiative. To begin with, the petition upon which the signatures are affixed is not prescribed by the Commission

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

on Elections. misleading.

It is a self-made and self-serving form that is deceiving and

RA 6735 states that the Petition will deal with only one subject. The current peoples initiative certainly does not deal with one, not even two but more than ten subjects. Further, the alleged petition does not state allegations essential to its reliability, to wit: 1. contents or text of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be; 2. the proposition; 3. the reason or reasons therefor; 4. that it is not one of the exceptions provided therein; 5. signatures of the petitioners or registered voters; and 6. an abstract or summary proposition is not more than one hundred (100) words which shall be legibly written or printed at the top of every page of the petition. Even if the law were valid, respondents could not verify signatures of a petition that would blatantly violate the law. Simply stated, the current initiative is one fraught with contradictions not just within the parameters of the Constitution but also vis--vis the stipulations of RA 6735. It is indeed a useless process that would go nowhere. For the Commission on Elections to act on such matter is like throwing spoiled crumbs to the dogs. By eating the leftovers of a bygone era an excess that the Supreme Court has majestically denied as fatuous the Commission on Elections might end up poisoning itself. Verily, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, yet we never learn from past mistakes, a hangover from assessment of too much self-importance and greed and power. This petition should then be granted, and the Commission on Elections be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system. Res ipsa loquitur.

SUMMARY
Respondents have admitted that they have received the signatures from the organizers of the Peoples Initiative. Undersigned counsel and petitioner Neri Javier Colmenares spoke with respondents Election Officers Rhodora Aquino, Atty. Lea Alarcon, Florina de Guia and Evangeline Bautista. Respondent Aquino admitted that they will verify the signatures upon the orders of the COMELEC. In fact, Comm. Brawner has specifically authorized the verification of the subject signatures once they are filed. The Respondents are verifying the signatures of the said peoples initiative. Should this fake peoples initiative be allowed, this will prejudice the rights of the people and petitioners who will no longer be allowed to conduct an initiative

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

petition within five (5) years from such allowance, an injury to the constitutional right of the people to amend the Constitution through their own genuine initiative. This Honorable Court is therefore asked to remedy this violation of the Constitution, violation and contravention of a Supreme Court decision, and violation of the rights of the people to a genuine peoples initiative permanently prohibiting respondents from conducting said verification and pending such, by issuing a temporary restraining order for the same. In the alternative, should the verification process be completed, the court is asked to nullify such process and void any certification issued by Respondents authenticating the signatures in their respective districts for being violative of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court decision in Santiago, and as an abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

ALLEGATIONS IN SUPPORT OF THE PRAYER FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND WRIT OF INJUNCTION
Petitioners replead the foregoing statements in support of its prayer for a temporary restraining order and a writ of injunction. They have a clear legal right to these provisional remedies since the actions of the respondents are clearly illegal and an abuse of discretion amounting to a lack of jurisdiction. The injury to petitioners if the unlawful acts persist is grave and irreparable. The public funds wasted thereon can no longer be returned to government coffers a fate similar to those that happened with the Commission on Elections computerization program and the fertilizer scam. Further, once done, the revision of the Constitution may no longer be corrected. In fact, the Constitution prohibits the conduct of a peoples initiative within five years from any amendment through such a method. Thus, the illegal process must be stopped this early, that is, now.

PRAYER
WHEREFORE, petitioners respectfully pray that judgment be rendered granting the instant petition, and for this Honorable Court to:
I.

Grant the Petition for Prohibition with Injunction by prohibiting the Commission on Election of the Quezon City and Respondent COMELEC officials from conducting verification and other preparatory acts of the signatures for a peoples initiative submitted by Sigaw ng Bayan, by Local Government Officials, ULAP or any other supposed peoples organization, and pending such to issue a Temporary Restraining Order on respondents from conducting the same. In the alternative, if the COMELEC has completed its verification of signatures, this Honorable Court is asked to declare such verification and its resulting certification null and void. Prohibit the COMELEC from issuing a certification that it has veri-

II.

III.

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

fied signatures and other data in the campaign for peoples initiative.

Other forms of relief just and equitable under the circumstances are also prayed for. Respectfully submitted. April 27, 2006.

MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN


Roll No. 35226 [5-28-1988] PTR No. 7355588 [2-3-2006, QC] IBP No. 674541 [2-3-2006, QC]

Counsel for Petitioners

NERI JAVIER COLMENARES


IBP No. 673655 (February 20, 2006, Pasig City) PTR A7154810 ( February 20, 2006, Quezon City) Attorneys Roll No. 43060

Counsel for Petitioners

CAROL MERCADO
Counsel for Petitioners IBP Lifetime No. 04148 Roll No. 36058

# 153 Scout Rallos, Kamuning District Quezon City

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION OF NON-FORUM SHOPPING


I, a Petitioner in herein Petition for Prohibition, of legal age, Filipinos, with the following personal details : Name 1. TEOFISTO GINGONA Jr. 2. CAROL ARAULLO 3. REMEDIOS BALBIN 4. RENATO REYES Jr. 5. NERI JAVIER COLMENARES 6. WILFREDO MARBELLA 7. CRISTINA MANALO # 1 Matatag cor. Maaralin St., Bgy. Central District, QC 153 Scout Rallos St., Kamuning District, Quezon City 11E Malamig St., UP Village, QC 16-M Cypress Village, Masambong, QC state under oath that : 1. I caused the preparation of the foregoing Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with application for a Temporary Restraining Order; 2. I read the foregoing pleading, the contents of which are true and correct based on my personal knowledge as well as on authentic records; 3. I have not commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues with the Supreme Court, The Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency; 4. To the best of my knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency; 5. If I should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending or terminated before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the Honorable Supreme Court. Office or Residential Address # 112, 9th St., New Manila, QC # 1 Matatag cor. Maaralin St., Bgy. Central District, QC

SIGNED, this _____ day of April 2006.

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PETITION FOR PROHIBITION PEOPLES MARCH [GUINGONA] et al. v. COMELEC et al.

TEOFISTOGUINGONAJR.

RENATORREYESJR.

NERIJAVIERCOLMENARES

WILFREDOMARBELLA

CRISTINAMANALO

DR.CAROLARAULLO

REMEDIOSBALBIN

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Subscribed and sworn to before me, affiants showing to me their Community Tax Certificate with details described below : Name 1. Teofisto Guingona 2. Renato Reyes 3. Neri Colmenares 4. Wilfredo Marbella 5. Cristina Manalo 6. Dr. Carol Araullo 7. Remedios Balbin CTC No. Issued at Issued on

NOTARY PUBLIC

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