Thursday, April 27, 2006


Various groups and individuals will file at 11:30 a.m. today, April 27, with the Quezon City RTC a Petition for Prohibition with TRO against NCR Director Ferdinand Rafanan, Quezon City Election Officers Atty. Lea Alarcon, Rhodora Aquino, Florina de Guia and Evangeline Bautista.

The Petitioners led by former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona representing the anti-chacha group ‘People’s March’, will seek a court order restraining District COMELEC personnel from conducting verification of signatures submitted by Sigaw ng Bayan and DILG personnel for the ‘peoples’ initiative. Other Petitioners include Bayan, KMP, individual taxpayers and voters and lawyer’s group Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL).

The Petition contends that the current initiative is unconstitutional, illegal and a direct contravention of the Supreme Court injunction in Santiago vs. Comelec and that any verification of the signatures of such a petition is also unconstitutional, illegal and a misappropriation of public funds in violation of the Anti-Graft Law. Prof. Marvic Leonen, Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares and Atty. Carol Mercado will act as counsels for the petitioners.

The move is a result of the plan of CODAL and other lawyers groups of the Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties (CLCL) to file petitions in various provinces and cities nationwide. Petitions were previously filed in Makati, Manila, Iloilo, Bacolod and Capiz. RTC Branch 17 of Roxas Capiz has issued a 20-day TRO against the Roxas City Comelec and Region VI Director Dennis Ausan. The Iloilo petition was dismissed by the Iloilo RTC yesterday. Sec. Raul Gonzalez personally appeared at the Iloilo hearing of the Petition. The Manila petition will be heard on May 3, 2006 at the sala of Judge Myra Fernandez.

Petitions will also be filed in Cagayan de Oro, Caloocan and Pasig. Should one district be permanently enjoined from verifying the initiative’s signatures, the whole “people’s” initiative will collapse as the Constitution requires the signature of at least 3 % of the voters in ‘each and every district’.