Alvarez: Congress should decide on ‘no-el’ before COC filing in October
Congress should decide on the postponement of the 2019 midterm elections before the scheduled filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) in October 2018, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Wednesday.
In an interview over dzMM, Alvarez said Congress has roughly three months left to decide whether the 2019 midterm elections will proceed or not, as he insisted his push for a “no-election” scenario to facilitate the country’s possible shift to a federal form of government.
“Opo. Bago mag-file ng certificate of candidacy,” he said when asked when the possible announcement on the cancellation of elections will be made.
Alvarez agreed that it would be hard to cancel the elections once candidates have already filed their COCs.
He also stressed that Charter change (Cha-cha) for a federal form of government would be very difficult to achieve unless it is done by 2019.
“You have to look at this objectively. Tingnan natin, kung talagang gawin natin ito, let’s do it right. Kasi kapag pinagpaliban mo iyan, matapos lang ang termino ni President Duterte, hindi po magagawa iyan,” the pro-administration lawmaker said.
To avoid further complications and suspicions with the resulting need for the President to appoint new officials whose terms would have expired, Alvarez said it would be more prudent to extend the term of incumbent officials.
“Hindi po pupuwede na pagka-approve, tapos mageeleksyon ka na kaagad. Hindi naman pupuwede ‘yun… In fact, noong 1986, kung maalala niyo, talagang na-extend ‘yung mga termino ng mga nakaupo dahil kailangan ng transition government,” he explained.
“Ang proposal nga namin diyan, huwag nang… ganyan, i-extend mo na lang…” he added.
In the same interview, the House leader who is also secretary general of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), reiterated that if the Senate would oppose the “no-el” scenario, citizens supporting federalism can conduct a people’s initiative to amend the constitutional provision that requires elections every three years.
The proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution being pushed by the President’s allies in Congress and by the Consultative Committee could pave the way to a shift to a federal form government – one of his campaign promises and an advocacy of his ruling political party.
Despite facing strong opposition, House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia earlier asserted that the lower chamber is not giving up on its push for federalism. /muf
READ: Deputy Speaker Garcia: House not giving up on federalism
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