Sample signature campaign for popular initiative — CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Shwerwin Gatchalian on Thursday blamed the popular initiative for public disapproval of the Charter (Cha-cha) change.

Gatchalian's remarks came after a Pulse Asia survey revealed that a large majority of Filipino adults surveyed by the company still do not believe that now is the right time to amend the 1987 Constitution.

“That was my first thought [ay] The popular initiative really harmed people's thinking. At the initiative of the People, [ang] the townspeople think Cha-cha is no good. Be it economic, political – as long as there is Cha-cha, it is not good,” Gatchalian said.

Another factor of disapproval, Gatchalian said, is that the public saw how members of Congress “fought” for Cha-cha.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives engaged in heated barbs over the controversial signature campaign.

The senators criticized their counterparts in the House of Representatives, who they believe are encouraging popular initiative – one of three ways to amend the Constitution.

“The people of the city saw the bangayan. AND [ang] people, they don't want public servants who show off. Secondly, they also heard the issues of corruption – purchase of subscriptions, reaching P1,000 or P200. So Cha-cha got a bad image because of the People's Initiative,” Gatchalian said.

(The public saw how we fought and they don't want to see public officials fighting. Secondly, they saw the issue of corruption, where some were buying subscriptions for this people's initiative. Some received P1,000, some P200. People initiative gave Cha- makes a bad image.)

The Senate, through Resolution No. 6 of both Chambers, is conducting negotiations on the economic Cha-cha.

The measure was taken in response to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s request for the Chamber to analyze proposals to amend certain provisions of the Constitution.

Marcos said he sees the need to relax the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution in order to allow more foreign direct investment in the country.

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A similar measure – Resolution of Both Chambers No. 7 – was also addressed and approved in the House of Representatives in March.