Rodriguez defends approval of reso on term extension: ‘Wala kaming tinatago’
MANILA, Philippines — House committee on constitutional amendments chairperson Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday defended the panel’s “discreet” approval of a resolution proposing “surgical” amendments to the 1987 Constitution, including the term extension for certain elected officials.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate had revealed that the panel, during an executive meeting, approved the still unnumbered Resolution of Both Houses that seeks to extend the terms of local government officials, congressmen, and senators to five years and three terms, and relax the economic restrictions in the 1987 Constitution.
The resolution also proposes the election of President and Vice President in tandem, as well as the increase in the number of senators from 24 to 27, or three per region.
Rodriguez explained that the panel held an executive meeting because they no longer needed to invite resource persons as public consultation had already been finished.
He added that members of the opposition members of the House, particularly the Makabayan bloc, were present during the meeting.
“It is an executive session because there are no more officials that are invited. We have heard all of them already,” he told reporters in an interview.
“Wala kaming tinatago (We are not hiding anything). In fact, six of the Makabayan bloc were there,” Rodriguez added.
Under the proposed law, the terms of local officials and Congress members would be extended to five years subject to three consecutive reelections.
At present, a senator can serve for six years and run for two consecutive times while House members and local elected officials can serve for three years and three consecutive terms.
Rodriguez said the committee on rules will endorse the proposed measure to the plenary by next week.
While he expects that there will be “big” debates on the resolution, Rodriguez expressed hope that this will be passed in the House as this does not contain yet the proposal to shift to a federal form of government
“This one, there are only four provisions and the controversial federal system proposal is not yet taken here. We believe there’s a chance that the House will approve this,” he said.
The resolution will have to undergo second and third reading approval in the House and has to be approved by the Senate. The House only has three session days left next week before they adjourn for the Christmas break. They will return on January 20, 2020.
Once approved by both chambers of Congress, this will go straight to a plebiscite, according to Rodriguez.
Edited by KGA
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