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Law expert cautions anti-pork groups.

Byline: Tetch Torres-Tupas

MANILA -- A constitutional law expert cautioned organizers of the Abolish Pork Movement who are pushing for the People's Initiative Against Pork to follow the rules in order "not to be knocked out in the very first round."

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, Dean of San Beda Law Graduate School, said that while he supports and stands by the anti-pork move, he expressed misgivings about Section 10 of the draft legislation-by-initiative.

Section 10 of the draft legislation provides that the act can "only be repealed, modified or amended by a law that has been approved by the people under the system of initiative and referendum enshrined in the 1987 Constitution."

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares earlier explained that the authority for the provision is Article VI Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution that reads "the legislative power shall vested in Congress of the Philippines xxx except to the extent reserved to the people by the provisions on initiative and referendum."

Colmenares said that with such constitutional provision, Congress cannot touch the anti-pork barrel act.

But Aquino said "nowhere do I read in this provision any entitlement on the part of the people to limit the legislative power of Congress, and the legislative power of Congress includes the power to repeal or to amend law, whether the law be passed by Congress itself or introduced through initiative."

"To insist that law passed by initiative may contain a provision disallowing Congress from repealing it is to nullify the legislative power of Congress and this would clearly violate the Constitution.

He further added that "the only remedy against repeal of initiative by Congress is initiative again that repeals the repeal, a possibility provided RA (Republic Act) 6735, the Law on Initiative and Referendum. This is cumbersome, clearly but it is far better to play by the rules than to be knocked out in the very first round because we ignored them."

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 25, 2014
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