Junking of ?people?s initiative? killed Mindanao?s bid for real autonomy ?

Commissioner Joji Ilagan-Bian said she was deeply saddened by the Supreme Court's decision as it denied Mindanawons "the chance to have a true autonomy from a very centralized system of governance."

"We are the biggest losers in that decision," she told reporters here this morning.

Voting 8-7, the SC dismissed the petition to revise the Constitution to allow a shift from the current presidential form of government to a unicameral-parliame ntary system through the people's initiative approach.

The court rebuffed the claimed 6.5 million signatures gathered by the initiative's proponent Sigaw ng Bayan Movement saying no amount of signatures can change the Constitution in ways that violate specified modes.

“An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people the full text of the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate as a gigantic fraud on the people,” the court stressed.

Bian said Mindanawons specifically lost its bid to pursue a federal system of governance in the island and the implementation of various economic reforms.

"These are essential requirements that we need to attain so we all experience real progress and better life here in Mindanao," she said.

She said most of the people failed to grasp such reality saying the public's level of awareness regarding the proposed Charter change was limited to the proposed shift to the parliamentary system and the political issues raised by its critics.

She said they clarified these concerns to the public "during our campaigns for the past five months" in various parts of the country but that most people failed to focus their attention on them.

Bian viewed the court's decision as the closure to the current moves to amend the Constitution.

"This is the end of Cha-cha. I don't think a ConAss (Constituent Assembly) will ever progress," she said.

She said the proposed convening of Congress into a Constituent Assembly to pursue Charter change faces many legal questions which will only end up at the Supreme Court.

She said existing laws are vague on whether the two-thirds vote needed to convene a Constituent Assembly means both Houses voting separately or jointly.

"Is it two-thirds of the House only? Two-thirds of the Senate? Or both? This is a complicated matter and we really don't know where to stand on these questions," he added.