Cha-cha won’t derail next elections — Cayetano | Philstar.com

Reference: Diaz, J. (2019, July 17). Cha-cha won’t derail next elections — Cayetano . Philstar.com. Retrieved July 17, 2019 from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/07/17/1935410/cha-cha-wont-derail-next-elections-cayetano

Cha-cha won’t derail next elections — Cayetano
Jess Diaz (philstar.com) – July 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives, in carrying out President Duterte’s marching order for his congressional allies to pursue Charter change (Cha-cha), would not cancel the next general elections scheduled in less than three years.

Unlike former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel III and previous House leaders who once both floated no-el (no-elections) and term extension for lawmakers and even for the President, presumptive speaker Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano is assuring the nation that the May 2022 polls will push through.

“We will all face (the electorate) in 2022,” Cayetano told his colleagues over the weekend.

He made the statement to dispel apprehensions that his “term extension” proposal would result in the cancellation of the next combined presidential-congressional-local elections and the extended stay in office of incumbent elective officials.

Cayetano said his proposal is to lengthen the term of office of House members, senators and local officials to “four years with no term limit or five years with term limit.”

He accused certain sectors of the media of reporting his advocacy inaccurately.

Under the Constitution, House members have a term of office of three years with two reelections or a total of nine consecutive years, while senators have six years with one reelection, or a total of 12 years.

Cayetano’s proposal will actually cut the senators’ tenure. He has repeatedly complained that the three-year stay in office of House members, governors or mayors is too short for them to implement meaningful reforms and projects.

He has 15 months to hold the speakership under a term sharing arrangement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, which Duterte has brokered.

Velasco will serve as speaker for the remaining 21 months.

Cayetano intends to make the most out of his 15-month term, including making Cha-cha succeed.

If it indeed succeeds, it would mean that the proposed new tenure “four years with no term limit or five years with term limit” for lawmakers and local officials would start after the May 2022 elections.

The problem with that scenario is how to carry out the constitutional mandate to synchronize elections, since the president, vice president and 12 senators to be elected in 2022 would have a term of six years. At some point, certain officials might have to be extended.

Under the version of a new constitution of the House in the last Congress, synchronization was not a problem because the proposal was for all elective officials to have a term of office of four years beginning in 2022.

That would mean that the nation would be having an election every four years. At present, voting is held every three years due to the difference in the term of office of the president, vice president and senators, which is six years, and House members and local officials, which is three years.

The Senate sat on the House proposal until the last Congress adjourned session and exited last month.

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