What Alan really wants: Lifting of term limits | Malaya Business Insight

Vigilia, W. (2019, July 12). What Alan really wants: Lifting of term limits. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved July 12, 2019 from https://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/what-alan-really-wants-lifting-term-limits

What Alan really wants: Lifting of term limits
By WENDELL VIGILIA – July 12, 2019

TAGUIG-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano will push for the lifting of the term limits of lawmakers and local officials once he is elected speaker of the 18th Congress.

He made the announcement during a meeting at the SM Aura in Taguig City with about 30 lawmakers, who are mostly supporters of incoming majority leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who threw his support behind Cayetano after he failed to win President Duterte’s endorsement in the speakership race.

Cayetano said he would propose to the Senate either a four-year term with no term limits or a five-year term, which will be limited to three terms for a total of 15 years, when Congress tackles the proposal to amend the Constitution to pave the way for a shift to a federal form of government.

“While we will push for Federalism, I think there is a way that the Senate will agree that we push either for four years (with) no term limit or five years with three term(s) limit. And it’s not a political thing, it is a practical thing,” he told the congressmen, who applauded him.

Under the 1987 Constitution, congressmen and local officials are given three-year terms which is limited to three terms or nine years.

Cayetano’s latest pitch is vastly different from the song he sung last Monday when he said he wants the terms of all congressmen and local officials extended to either four or five years.

Cayetano expects to be elected speaker when Congress opens session on July 22 after Duterte announced last Monday that Cayetano will share the term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco. Under the term-sharing agreement, Cayetano will sit as speaker for the first 15 months while Velasco will take the next 21 months.

Duterte has been batting for Charter change, saying he has already asked Cayetano, Velasco and Romualdez, 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.

Cayetano clarified that the terms of the present members of Congress will not be extended since the proposal will only take effect after a new Constitution is ratified.

“Someone from the media told me that Alan is pushing for term extension (of his term as speaker) which is not true, since it’s already 15-21 (months in favor of Velasco). Maybe other people are thinking that we want to extend our (present three-year terms) to four or five years so our terms (as speaker) can also be extended. That’s not what I’ve said,” he explained.

The former senator and foreign affairs secretary said that while lawmakers have substantive bills to file and approve, they also face “administrative restrictions and limitations” because of their three-year terms that he finds too short.

Cayetano explained that congressmen are elected in May, take office in June and spend the next six months trying to get organized.

“If you succeeded a political rival, you have no more funds for the year and you’ll have to explain to the people why you’re failing to deliver and then your (next annual) budget starts in January, and that’s only one year, 2020, because in 2021, everyone is thinking of (the) 2022 (elections), and then the cycle starts again,” he said.

Cayetano said he had known many politicians who, while being great planners, still lost their re-elections bids because they do not have anything to show for because of the short three-year term.

“But I’ve also known a lot of politicians who are just after their election budget every year and keep getting reelected and it’s idealistic to say that it must not be like that but when you’re a politician, you have to be both idealistic and practical. You’re so idealistic but you lose so you cannot implement your idealism. You’re too practical, you’ll go to jail. So that’s the reality of life,” he said.

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.

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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