Lawyers mount campaign vs ‘fake’ people’s initiative

Lawyers Cesar Beloria Jr., (left) and Cesar Beloria Sr. show to the media the forms for those who want to withdraw their signatures from the people’s initiative. (Dolly Yasa photo)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – A father-and-son tandem is asking signatories to the petition to change a provision of the 1987 Constitution to “withdraw” their signatures.

Lawyer Cesar Beloria Jr. and his father and fellow lawyer Cesar Sr. dubbed their move in a press conference Thursday as a “campaign against fake people’s initiative.”

The younger Beloria pointed out that the people who signed the petition were “fooled” and were misled into affixing their signatures.

Some of the signatories were told that their names would be validated with the Commission on Elections while others were made to believe that they would be included in the list of financial aid beneficiaries.

Cesar Jr. pointed out that these manners of getting signatures for the proposed amendment to the 1987 Constitution are “deceptive.”

He also clarified that there is no group or sector behind them despite the fact that there are groups who want to join them.

“We want it to remain as people’s initiative as well, we are giving these people behind this fake people’ initiative a dose of their own medicine,” he added.

Cesar Jr. said that signatories from three barangays in this city who have reached out to them are inclined to withdraw their signatures.

He added that he has learned that around 66,000 signatures were submitted to the Comelec relative to the “fake people’s initiative campaign.”

It is more than the three percent required with the city having an estimated 300,000 registered voters.

But he pointed out that even if they can just get five voters who will withdraw their signatures, it would be enough for them to file a petition to intervene.

Cesar Jr. also said that while there are those who believe their efforts will go to waste, “we have no choice, somebody has to stand up. We should not allow our rights to be trampled on.”

“If the people understood what they signed and did it freely, then it’s okay. However, if they realize that they feel they were misled and changed their minds, they have every right to withdraw their signatures.”

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