Charter change plebiscite may be held in February 2019 – Rep. Veloso
A plebiscite aimed at seeking public support for the proposed shift to a federal form of government may be held as early as February 2019, according to Leyte Rep. VicenteVeloso, one of the primary movers of charter change (Cha-cha) in the House of Representatives.
Veloso, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, insisted in a radio interview on Sunday that the 292-member legislative body could still wrap up the plenary deliberations on the attempt to modify the 1987 Constitution in December.
This despite the unified position of majority of senators that the latest effort to alter the 31-year-old Constitution would be not stand a chance in the Senate.
“If we finish [the plenary debates], we can have the plebiscite in February. It will be earlier than the (May 2019) elections,” Veloso said. “We are not slow in [doing our legislative duties] as perceived by the others there in the [Senate]. I think we will be able to finish this by December.”
Reminded that most of the senators had agreed that the charter change attempt would be “dead-on-arrival” once it reached the Senate, he said: “As I have said, the Senate is only the other half of Congress.”
Veloso, a retired Court of Appeals justice, reiterated that Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had nothing to do with the draft transitory provision removing Vice President Leni Robredo as constitutional successor of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He said it was Arroyo herself who had directed Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to recall the draft federal charter and return it to the committee level after Robredo’s removal in the line of succession drew flak from the public.
“It could be to stop the crisis, especially after we were criticized,” Veloso said. /atm
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