Senate to elect a new leader in February
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will elect a new president in February to thwart any attempt to create a constitutional crisis by postponing the May 9 elections.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Saturday that senators were geared to activate a constitutional mechanism that would ensure the continued operation of the government if supposed plans to scuttle the elections succeed.
“We have devised a plan to avert any constitutional crisis,” Lacson said amid persistent claims of supposed plans to derail the elections.
“If and when the [May 9] elections will be derailed, whether or not it is by design, there will still be one body that will continue to function beyond June 30, and that is the Senate,” said Lacson, who is running for president along with incumbent Senate President Vicente Sotto III as vice president.
“We have agreed to elect a new Senate president before we adjourn sine die in February,” Lacson said, who, along with Sotto, is among 12 senators whose terms end on June 30.
By doing so, the Senate president elected in February will be constitutionally mandated to assume the presidency should the nation fail to elect a leader to replace President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, whose terms also end on June 30.
Lacson was referring to the mechanism provided in Section 7 of the Constitution’s article on the executive department.
Lacson said 12 senators would remain in office until June 30, 2025.
They are Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Ronald dela Rosa, Christopher Go, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino and Cynthia Villar.
Lacson said he was not discounting the possibility that the recent petition filed by the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bansa (PDP-Laban) faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi could be an attempt to derail the elections, and extend the President’s term.
“We are not trying to ascribe any ill motive to this petition, but let’s face it: There is the possibility. But this early, we are sending the message that the Senate will be ready to counter such a move,” he said.
Sotto, however, said the PDP-Laban’s Cusi wing was just aiming to field an official candidate.
“But there are also fears that reopening the filing of candidacies to all positions will create chaos, and cause delay. So maybe they (Commission on Elections) can allow reopening it to one position only,” he said.
“[But] no constitutional crisis will happen once the Senate acts on it because the Senate continues to exist, and a [newly elected] Senate president will still have 11 incumbent senators who cannot be replaced.
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