Act quickly on Cha-cha if you want plebiscite with polls – Gonzales

Act quickly on Cha-cha if you want plebiscite held with polls – Gonzales

/ 12:45 PM February 28, 2024

PHOTO: Deputy Speaker Neptali Gonzales STORY: Act quickly on Cha-cha if you want plebiscite held with polls – Gonzales

Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Holding the plebiscite for economic Charter change alongside the 2025 midterm elections is possible under one condition: Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 has to be acted by November or December this year, Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said in a press briefing in the Houe complex on Wednesday.

Gonzales the floor reader of the House Committee of the Whole tackling the resolution.


“For that to work, assuming — I’m just assuming — if both Houses of Congress will be able to approve [the resolution] by the required votes provided for by the Constitution, then the submission of the approved resolution must be in the hands of the Comelec not later [than November or December],” Gonzales said.


Gonzales was referring to Article XVII, Section 4 of the  Constitution, which states that a petition for amendments will be deemed valid when ratified by voters in a plebiscite “which shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days” after Comelec’s certification.

“Because the Constitution stated, once the Comelec received the approved amendment, then it is mandated to schedule a plebiscite not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days… If you’re going to ask me, is it legal, possible, to hold this side-by-side next year? Yes, and economical at that, so long as it would fall into the timeframe provided for by the Constitution,” he added.

Gonzales said he would have no problem with holding the plebiscite side by side with the 2025 midterm elections — where voters would select local officials, 12 senators, their preferred House representative, and a party-list group.

“This makes sense. For me, there’s no problem with that. In fact, that’s very practical and very economical considering that you will hold the polls together next year, and considering that if we will go by the PCOS [precinct count optical scan] machine or whatever, you will only place a portion that says yes or no. So there’s really no additional cost that you can say,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.

“Now and besides, we in the House, the timeframe that we are trying to work on is that we will be able to finish this on third reading before the Lenten break. You know that already. That was announced already,” he added.

In an ambush interview earlier before his flight to Australia, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that he was considering holding the economic Charter change plebiscite alongside the midterm polls because having them separately would be too expensive.


He added that the plebiscite would not have to take place immediately after Congress finishes deliberating Charter change proposals — RBH No. 7 for the House and RBH No. 6 for the Senate.

Gonzales’ statements were a departure from the House leadership’s previous statements.

On separate occasions, Deputy Speaker David Suarez and Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe called for a plebiscite within 2024 to shield the proposed amendments to the Constitution’s economic provisions from being politicized.

READ: Suarez to senators: Window to amend economic provisions closing fast

Just this Tuesday, Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong issued the same sentiments, saying that the House would want to insulate Charter change from political discussions brought by the 2025 polls.

READ: Solons prefer Cha-cha plebiscite to be held before 2025 elections

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It was Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri who first said that Marcos would prefer holding the plebiscite alongside the 2025 polls.

TAGS: Cha-cha plebiscite, charter change, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Neptali Gonzales II

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