Removing VP from line of succession a ‘preemptive power grab’ — De Lima
Booting the Vice President from the line of succession as drafted in Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s proposed federal Charter was “nothing but a preemptive power grab” and a “sneaky political move” by the House leader and her allies, detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima said Thursday.
“Arroyo’s proposed Charter might as well have abolished the Office of the Vice President, as if merely removing VP Leni Robredo from the line of succession would hide Arroyo’s selfish motivation in pushing for VP Leni’s virtual ouster from office,” De Lima said in a statement.
“It is nothing but a preemptive power grab,” she added.
De Lima slammed the alleged attempt to endorse Arroyos’ draft federal Charter to the House plenary without the knowledge of other lawmakers and the public.
“Arroyo’s and her House allies’ push for Charter change is rather a sneaky political move amidst speculations on Duterte’s deteriorating health. Reportedly, the House resolution adopting Arroyo’s Charter change proposal was endorsed to the plenary without any public hearings or debates at the committee level,” she noted.
De Lima backed Robredo’s pronouncements that such proposal originating from the House of Representatives would effectively strip the mandate of a Vice President.
“Its most questionable and shameless feature is the removal of the Vice President from the line of succession to the presidency. Strangely, nobody bothered to look up the very nature of what a Vice President is supposed to be, i.e., to succeed the President and take over his office in case anything happens to him,” she said.
Under Article 17 Section 4 of the proposed Charter recently filed by Arroyo and her allies, “the incumbent Senate President shall act as President” during the transition to federalism or “until a President shall have been chosen and qualified.”
But Robredo on Wednesday denounced the proposal, saying it is a desperate move to unseat her.
On Wednesday afternoon, the House of Representatives returned Arroyo’s draft federal Charter to the committee level “in order to introduce perfecting amendments to the failure to include the vice president in the first line of succession which led to some misunderstandings,” as motioned by Cebu City 1st District Rep. Raul del Mar.
De Lima, who has been writing her statements from her detention cell in Camp Crame, still warned that certain provisions might be reinserted in the future.
“It is therefore more than a coincidence that this feature was belatedly pulled out of Arroyo’s draft Charter as soon as Duterte assured his allies that he is free of cancer. But this is no guarantee that it won’t be re-inserted at some other time,” the senator noted.
“It is nothing but a reversal of democratization — of reforms introduced in the 1987 Constitution to expand the selection of elective officials to include those coming from the grassroots who will be able to genuinely represent the people more than the entrenched political clans,” she added. /kga
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