Alan eyes term extension for solons, local execs | Malaya Business Insight

Vigilia, W. (2019, July 10). Alan eyes term extension for solons, local execs. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved July 10, 2019 from

Alan eyes term extension for solons, local execs
By WENDELL VIGILIA – July 10, 2019

HE has yet to assume his post as speaker but Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano has already set his sights on what could be a controversial provision when the House tackles proposals to amend the Constitution: to extend the terms of all congressmen and local officials to either four or five years.

Cayetano, who was chosen by President Duterte as the next Speaker last Monday, said the current three-year term is too short and leads to too much politicking.

“Tingin ko kung bakit panay pulitika tayo, maigsi masyado ang three-year term so kung papayagan tayo ng taong-bayan, dapat four or five years (I think there’s too much politics because the three-year term is too short so if the people will allow us, I think it should be four or five years),” the incoming speaker said in a radio interview.

Cayetano, who will formally assume the post as the new House leader when Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, will be speaker for the first 15 months of his term. He will share the post with Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco, who will serve for the next 21 months.

Under the House’s draft of a new Constitution that was approved last December under the 17th Congress, the President and Vice President will be elected with each other to serve four-year terms, subject to one re-election.

Lawmakers, who should be holders of college degrees, will also serve four-year terms along with local government officials.

The proposal states that the first election under the proposed new Constitution will be held on the second Monday of May 2022.

Duterte has been batting for Charter change, saying he has already asked Cayetano, Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who will be the majority leader, to work to amend the Constitution.

The President has said it no longer matters if lawmakers do not want a shift to a federal form of government as long as the Charter is amended.

The Cha-cha initiative was approved by the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress but died a natural death after the Senate sat on it.

Cayetano said he is set to file “comprehensive” Charter change bills, one proposing a shift to federalism and a “simple” one aimed at strengthening the Local Government Code and empowering the rural areas.

The former senator and foreign affairs secretary, however, said the House leadership will have to tread carefully when it attempts to change the Constitution because they might be accused of pushing for personal interests.

“Alam mo naman pag sinabing Cha-cha, (iisipin ng tao na) baka may isingit kayong mga pulitiko dyan (You know how it is when discussing Cha-cha, the public thinks that politicians might insert questionable provisions),” Cayetano said.

The next speaker said he will have to work doubly hard because he only has 15 months to effect change “so I want to want to take a balanced approach to both of it.”

Cayetano said he would work towards achieving a harmonious working relationship with members of what he called the new “DDSM” or the “Die-hard Duterte Supermajority” at the Lower House.

The President has said he wants constitutional amendments to take effect as soon as possible, especially since there are grumblings in the military because of graft and corruption.

Duterte, however, did not explain how changing the Constitution would eradicate graft and corruption when the present provisions already hold public officials accountable for misdeeds.

The Cha-cha version approved by the last Congress included the proposal to lift the term limits of legislators and local officials.

Congressmen approved Resolution of Both Houses No.15, hoping that senators will eventually agree to convene as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) with them to amend the Constitution.

Senators insist that the voting be undertaken separately because they will be easily outnumbered by congressmen. The Constitution is silent on how the voting should be undertaken.

There has long been a dispute in the manner of voting because the Article XVII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution merely provides that “any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members.”

Category: National | Malaya Business Insight

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