• Article 5 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Section 1 states that, “suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines…”Article VI. The Legislative Department• Section 1. “The Legislative Power is vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision of initiative and referendum (Philippine 1987 Constitution).”• The general initiative and referendum were first adopted in the United States in South Dakota in 1898.
Ronelyn D. Jaectin
Local Initiative - the legal processwhereby the registered voters of alocal government unit may directlypropose, enact, or amend anyordinance. Local referendum - the legal process whereby the registered voters of the local government units may approve or reject any ordinance enacted by the Sanggunian..
Who May Exercise? The power of local initiative and referendum may be exercised by all registered voters of the provinces, cities, municipaliti es,and Barangays. Procedure in Local Initiative Local Government Unit Number of registered votersa) Provinces and Cities 1000 Municipalities (towns) 100 Barangays 50
(b) If no favorable action thereon istaken by the Sanggunian concernedwithin thirty (30) days from itspresentation, the proponents, throughtheir duly authorized and registeredrepresentatives, may invoke theirpower of initiative, giving noticethereof to the Sanggunian concerned.(c) The proposition shall be numbered serially starting from Romannumeral I. The Comelec or its designated representative shallextend assistance in the formulation of the proposition.(d) Two (2) or more propositions may be submitted in an initiative.(e) Proponents shall have ninety (90) days in case of provinces andcities, sixty (60) days in case of municipalities, and thirty (30) daysin case of Barangays, from notice mentioned in subsection (b)hereof to collect the required number of signatures.
(f) The petition shall be signed before theelection registrar, or his designatedrepresentatives, in the presence of arepresentative of the proponent, and arepresentative of the Sanggunian concerned in apublic place in the local government unit, as thecase may be. Stations for collecting signaturesmay be established in as many places as may bewarranted.(g) Upon the lapse of the period herein provided,the Comelec, through its office in the localgovernment unit concerned, shall certify as towhether or not the required number ofsignatures has been obtained. Failure to obtainthe required number defeats the proposition.
(h) If the required number of signatures isobtained, the Comelec shall then set a datefor the initiative during which theproposition shall be submitted to theregistered voters in the local governmentunit concerned for their approval withinsixty (60) days from the date ofcertification by the Comelec, as provided insubsection (g) hereof, in case of provincesand cities, forty-five (45) days in case ofmunicipalities, and thirty (30) days in caseof Barangays. The initiative shall then beheld on the date set, after which theresults thereof shall be certified andproclaimed by the Comelec.
Effectivity of Local PropositionsIf the proposition is approved by a majority of the votescast, it shall take effect fifteen (15) days after certificationby the Comelec as if affirmative action thereon had beenmade by the Sanggunian and local chief executiveconcerned. If it fails to obtain said number of votes, theproposition is considered defeated.
Limitations on Local Initiatives (a) The power of local initiative shall not be exercised more than once a year. (b) Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the Sanggunians to enact.c) If at any time before the initiative is held, the Sanggunianconcerned adopts in to the proposition presented and the localchief executive approves the same, the initiative shall becanceled. However, those against such action may, if they sodesire, apply for initiative in the manner herein provided.
Limitations upon Sanggunians Any proposition or ordinance approved through the system of initiative and referendum as herein provided shall not be repealed, modified or amended by the Sanggunian concerned within six (6) months from the date of the approval thereof, and may be amended, modified or repealed by the Sanggunian within three (3) years thereafter by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of all its members: Provided, That in case of Barangays, the period shall be eighteen (18) months after the approval thereof.
Authority of Courts (Chapter II, LGC of 1991)Nothing in this Chapter shall prevent or precludethe proper courts from declaring null and voidany proposition approved pursuant to thisChapter for violation of the Constitution or wantof capacity of the Sanggunian concerned toenact the said measure.
What is the difference between Initiative and Referendum?• Both initiative and referendum are powers givento the voters to accept or reject a piece oflegislation, though initiative allows people to getthe government to do what it should have and didnot, while referendum give people the power to getthe government “not” to do what they wanted todo.• Initiative starts with votes, whereas legislativereferendum initiates from the legislature and goesto the public, to approve or reject the proposedlegislation.