Chiz refutes Sotto: Congress has no power to postpone polls
Contrary to the opinion of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, a simple law was not enough to postpone the 2019 elections, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Thursday.
Escudero said Congress has no power under the Constitution to postpone the elections.
“Kung saka-sakali, panibagong bullet amendment ‘yan sa Saligang Batas na hindi ko alam kung paano gagawin o magagawa,” he said at a regular forum in the Senate.
(If this will be the case, it will be a new bullet amendment in the Constitution that I do not know how it will be done or if this can be done.)
Sotto earlier said that Congress may pass a law to postpone the elections, citing Article VI, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution, which mandates the holding of elections on the second Monday of May every three years.
But he said there was a phrase in the provision that reads: “Unless otherwise provided by law.”
Escudero contradicted Sotto’s interpretation of the Constitution.
Escudero pointed out a separate provision in the Constitution, which clearly states that congressmen have a three-year term while senators have six-year term in office.
“May kapangyarihan ba ang Kongreso na i-postpone ang halalan natin? Sa pananiwala ko, wala. Kailangangan mo ng pagbabago, amendment sa Saligang Batas bago ma-postpone ang national and local elections,” he said.
(Does Congress has power to postpone our elections? I believe it’s not. You need changes, amendment in the Constitution before you can postpone the national and local elections.)
“Hindi ito pwe-pwedeng magawa sa pamamagitan lamang ng simpleng batas na ipapasa ng Kongreso,” he further stressed.
(This cannot be done through a simple law that will be passed by Congress.)
Escudero also explained that the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” cited by Sotto only pertains to the date of the elections— every Second of Monday of May—which could be changed to either First or Third Monday of May.
“Pero hindi mo naman pwedeng baguhin ng tatlong taon,” he said.
(But you cannot change it in three years.)
The senator reiterated that while the date of the elections could be changed, there is another provision that clearly provides for the tenure of elective officials. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.