Cayetano: Term extension for congressmen ‘practical, more productive’
MANILA, Philippines — Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, who was recently endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte as Speaker of the House of Representatives, is floating the idea of a term extension for congressmen, asserting it would be more “practical” and “productive” for the lower chamber.
“So, I’d like to clarify that, you know, while we will push for federalism, I think, there is a way that the Senate will agree that we push either for four years no term limit or five years na may term limit. And it is not a political thing, it is a practical thing,” Cayetano told some House members in a meeting Wednesday night.
“So, there are things like that, that I think we can explain and try to sell to people if they see that we’re also reforming ourselves,” he added.
In pushing for the term extension, Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 national elections also argued that the current three-year term of House members with a limit of three consecutive times is hindering the country’s development.
“Ang sabi ko, while there are substantive bills that we have to file, the reality is there is also administrative restrictions and limitations that’s why hindi mag-develop ang ating bansa. And one of them is the three-year term na may term limit pa,” Cayetano said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said lawmakers should consult the public first about the proposed congressional term extension.
But for Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, a proposal to lift or extend term limits is simply “self-serving” as it is “part and parcel of the over-all assault to weaken or remove the protectionist provisions of the 1987 Constitution.”
Zarate also countered Cayetano’s argument and said any term extension would not benefit the public and the country “especially under corrupt and inept elected officials.”
“We are urging the people to immediately and resolutely oppose this proposal because they would again be at the losing end,” he added.
In the same meeting, the former Senator further said he wants a non-disruptive turn-over of leadership in the chamber where only he and the committee on accounts chair will step down after their 15-month term as leaders of the House.
The President earlier said Cayetano would share a Speaker’s three-year term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco while Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez would be the Majority Leader. Cayetano would serve for the first 15 months, with Velasco taking over the remaining 21 months.
But Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte on Thursday said the battle for Speaker is far from over, as an aspirant for the top House post may stage a coup d’état during the election at the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22.
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