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LAMBINO V.

COMELEC
Facts:

Lambino was able to gather the signatures of 6,327,952 individuals for an initiative
petition to amend the 1987 Constitution. That said number of votes comprises at least
12 per centum of all registered voters with each legislative district at least represented
by at least 3 per centum of its registered voters. This has been verified by local
COMELEC registrars as well. The proposed amendment to the constitution seeks to
modify Secs 1-7 of Art VI and Sec 1-4 of Art VII and by adding Art XVIII entitled
Transitory Provisions. These proposed changes will shift the president bicameral-
presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form of government. The
COMELEC, on 31 Aug 2006, denied the petition of the Lambino group due to the lack of
an enabling law governing initiative petitions to amend the Constitution this is in
pursuant to the ruling in Santiago vs COMELEC. Lambino et al contended that the
decision in the aforementioned case is only binding to the parties within that case.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the petition for initiative met the requirements of Sec 2 ArtXVII of the
1987 Constitution.

HELD:

The proponents of the initiative secure the signatures from the people. The proponents
secure the signatures in their private capacity and not as public officials. The
proponents are not disinterested parties who can impartially explain the advantages and
disadvantages of the proposed amendments to the people. The proponents present
favorably their proposal to the people and do not present the arguments against their
proposal. The proponents, or their supporters, often pay those who gather the
signatures. Thus, there is no presumption that the proponents observed the
constitutional requirements in gathering the signatures. The proponents bear the
burden of proving that they complied with the constitutional requirements in gathering
the signatures that the petition contained, or incorporated by attachment, the full text
of the proposed amendments. The proponents failed to prove that all the signatories to
the proposed amendments were able to read and understand what the petition contains.
Petitioners merely handed out the sheet where people can sign but they did not attach
thereto the full text of the proposed amendments.

Lambino et al are also actually proposing a revision of the constitution and not a mere
amendment. This is also in violation of the logrolling rule wherein a proposed
amendment should only contain one issue. The proposed amendment/s by petitioners
even includes a transitory provision which would enable the would-be parliament to
enact more rules.

There is no need to revisit the Santiago case since the issue at hand can be decided
upon other facts. The rule is, the Court avoids questions of constitutionality so long as
there are other means to resolve an issue at bar.

***NOTE: On November 20, 2006 in a petition for reconsideration submitted by the


Lambino Group 10 (ten) Justices of the Supreme Court voted that Republic Act 6735 is
adequate.

HOWEVER, this was a mere minute resolution which reads in part:

Ten (10) Members of the Court reiterate their position, as shown by their various
opinions already given when the Decision herein was promulgated, that Republic Act
No. 6735 is sufficient and adequate to amend the Constitution thru a peoples initiative.

As such, it is insisted that such minute resolution did not become stare decisis. See
discussion here

****RA 6735: An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and
Appropriating Funds Therefor