Cha-cha still alive in House
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday distanced herself from a resolution filed in the House of Representatives that would remove the term limits of legislators under the proposed federal state of government.
Opposition lawmakers claimed that Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, the latest Charter change (Cha-cha) attempt under the Duterte administration, was aimed at prolonging Arroyo’s term as Speaker as it sought to postpone the 2019 midterm elections.
“The only thing I added was a provision establishing the federal states … That’s the only thing I added to make it my version,” Arroyo told reporters.
“All the other provisions were already submitted by the Concom and everyone else,” she said, referring to the consultative committee created by President Rodrigo Duterte to propose amendments in the 1987 Constitution.
Asked if she was in favor of removing the term limits of lawmakers, the Speaker said: “It’s really a collegial decision.”
Arroyo, who is now on her third and last term as Pampanga representative, filed the resolution along with 21 other lawmakers on Sept. 19.
The House committee on constitutional amendments approved the resolution last week, leaving it to the committee on rules, chaired by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., to endorse it for plenary deliberations.
In their resolution, the 22 lawmakers wanted to amend the Constitution by holding the next general elections under a federal government in May 2022, a move that would extend the term of incumbent elected officials.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate questioned the timing of its filing, pointing out that it was brought while lawmakers were busy debating on the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget.
“Despite gasping for political breath, Charter change is still alive and being desperately resuscitated by the Speaker,” Zarate said.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said the Cha-cha resolution was “suspicious and alarming.”
For Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, the attempt to alter the Constitution was “the height of insensitivity and callousness” at a time when the country was still grappling with the soaring inflation rate and worsening economy.
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