Cayetano rebuffs Lacson on term extension proposal | Philstar.com

Reference: Diaz, J. (2019, July 14). Duterte’s SONA 2019 will be P200K cheaper. Philstar.com. Retrieved July 15, 2019 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/07/14/1934657/dutertes-sona-2019-will-be-p200k-cheaper

Duterte’s SONA 2019 will be P200K cheaper
Jess Diaz (philstar.com) – July 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The proposal to give members of the House of Representatives and local officials longer terms of office of four years to five years through Charter change or Cha-cha is not about self-interest.

It is tied to local and national development, according to a candidate for speaker yesterday.

Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano posted on his Facebook page a lengthy defense of what critics have described as his term extension proposal.

Cayetano addressed in particular the criticism aired by his friend, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who said Cayetano was starting on the wrong foot or delivering the wrong message with his proposal.

“I would say, country first before self-interest,” Lacson said.

Cayetano said a four- or five-year term would allow lawmakers and local officials to plan more effectively and do better projects for their communities.

He said his wife Lani, although she implemented projects when she was Taguig mayor, would have done better with a longer tenure.

Cayetano added that Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has been reaping praises for clearing streets of vendors and cleaning up his city.

“But he will need time for planning, building and after one-and-a-half years, he will start thinking of the next election (in 2022),” Cayetano pointed out.

He stressed that critics should open their minds to his proposal and not call it self-serving and label him as a traditional politician and villain.

Cayetano claimed that a longer term would lead to developing district and local constituencies and the nation.

“The villains are those who are opposed to national development,” he said.

Cayetano, a former senator, said his former colleagues in the Senate should be open to discussing his proposal.

“They are fond of debates, so why not debate? Let’s debate as adults and intelligent people. Don’t kill the idea before it is even discussed,” he said.

Despite the criticism he is getting from Lacson, he said he hopes to forge a good relationship with the Senate.

Aside from Lacson, no other senator has commented on Cayetano’s proposal for longer terms for members of the House and mayors and governors, and a shorter term for senators.

Under the Constitution, a House member has three years with two reelections, or a total of nine consecutive years. A senator has six years with one reelection, or a total of 12 years.

Cayetano’s proposal would give House members an additional one year to two years and would cut a senator’s six-year term by one year to two years.

Last Wednesday night, in a show of irritation over Lacson’s criticism, Cayetano threatened to cut the senators’ tenure by half to just three years.

“If senators do not believe that nothing much happens in three years, let us cut their term to three years… Anyway, they are saying a lawmaker can be productive in three years,” Cayetano told his House colleagues in a mix of Filipino and English.

If he is elected speaker, Cayetano will need the cooperation of the Senate for Cha-cha unless, like previous House leaders, he is thinking that the House could do it alone.

Senators have said Cha-cha won’t fly without their participation.

Cayetano has indicated that he would try to accomplish Cha-cha during his 15-month share of the speaker’s three-year period in office.

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco would occupy the post for the remaining 21 months.

VP on 15-21

Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo criticized yesterday President Duterte’s move to intervene in the race for House speakership.

“It’s OK to give your blessing, but to publicly endorse (a candidate), I think that is improper,” Robredo said in an interview with dzMM.

She said the executive and judiciary should not meddle in the affairs of the legislative, noting the separation of powers of the three branches of government.

The idea of term-sharing in the House leadership also did not sit well with the Vice President.

“I don’t get that 15-21 sharing,” she said.

While it is normal for administration allies to get the House speakership, it is not usual for a President to make endorsements in public, Robredo said.

“They should leave (the voting) to the members of the House,” said Robredo, who served as a representative of Camarines Sur for one term. – With Helen Flores, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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