Congress can’t extend terms by resetting polls—lawyer
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Friday said the 2019 midterm elections could not be postponed, whether through the passage of a law or through a people’s initiative.
Though the Constitution states that the country’s regular election shall be held on the second Monday of May, unless otherwise provided by law, Macalintal said that this should not run counter to the provision setting the terms of office of elective officials, which is six years for senators and three years for congressmen and local officials.
In fact, he said, the Supreme Court had already ruled in 1991 that the legislature could not extend their terms by postponing an election.
He added that should officials act on a holdover capacity, it would make them mere appointees, “violating the constitutional mandate that they should be elected by their respective constituents.”
Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said it would be more practical to suspend the midterm polls to give them more time to focus on the proposed shift to a federal form of government.
Alvarez suggested that both the House and the Senate pass a law postponing the elections. If this does not pan out, he said, another option was through a people’s initiative.
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