The People’s Initiative pointman says “no regrets”
MANGALDAN—The man is not just sitting on a hot seat but on a burning seat.
This is how lawyer Raul Lambino, a native of Dilan, Pozorrubio town, and the spokesman of Sigaw ng Bayan Movement, describes himself now that he is a leading figure in the “burning issue” People’s Initiative seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“It’s a huge challenge I’ve never imagined in my entire life,” he replied when asked about his impressions on the ongoing controversy.
Lambino, who calls himself a “probinsiyano” (from the province), said he thought it was just an ordinary academic activity because as a professor of political law and constitutional law, he has been espousing changes in the 1987 Constitution more particularly electoral and judicial reforms”.
“I didn’t realize that such magnitude would come my way that is going to disturb my private life,” Lambino, a professor of Law at the University of the East and at the University of Pangasinan, said.
He admitted things were never the same again when he was chosen as the spokesman of Sigaw ng Bayan Movement, the group spearheading a nationwide information and signature gathering campaign.
He claimed they have gathered close to 8.5 million signatures nationwide and he is confident that they can file the petition for the people’s initiative before the Commission on Elections at the end of this month or first week of May.
He said the job, notwithstanding the rigorous schedule in all corners of the country to undertake their advocacy, is very difficult because even the security of his family is also somehow at stake.
“We have received a lot of messages from our cellphones to landline in my residence in Manila, nasty calls, hatemails, poison mails,” he said. But he said this is part of the game and they are just taking extra care.
He said his family feels disturbed and but they are taking it one step at a time.
“My family fully understood what I begun and they are fully supportive of what I’m doing,” Lambino said.
Lambino is the managing partner of Lambino, de Guzman, Tumanda and Rafanan law office based in Quezon City. When he was appointed to the Consultative Commission for Charter Change, not a few eyebrows were raised since he was part of the campaign team of then Fernando Poe Jr and Senator Loren Legarda.
But he stressed that “The issue of Chacha should transcend partisan politics”.
While he said that this is political, “it is a non-partisan activity, whether you were for or against the president last election should not be the reason why we should not participate in discussing or in supporting the call for a parliamentary system of government”.
“This is the time to identify yourself with the changes that are needed for our country and our people,” he said.
He said that they have never received any instruction, neither the government has influenced the individual decision of the Concom members. “Whatever positions we have taken during those times, those were independent positions,” he said. Concom members were handpicked by President Arroyo.
Lambino is again part of the 15-member Advocacy Commission where he chairs the Committee on Form of Government (for the shift to the parliamentary form). He laughs at reports that he was offered juicy positions in exchange of what he is doing.
He said there were already offers for government posts before he joined the Chacha bandwagon. “I’m not yet prepared for such kind of job,” he said.
But what he is doing he said, sans getting any government money,” “ is a job that would benefit the Filipino people”. —EVA
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