Macalintal’s view on separate plebiscite, polls affirms House's stand

Solons: Macalintal’s view on separate plebiscite, polls affirms House’s stand

/ 05:27 PM March 04, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — An election lawyer’s viewpoint that the plebiscite to ratify the proposed constitutional amendments and the 2025 midterm elections cannot be held together is consistent with the position of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker David Suarez said Monday.

Suarez in a press briefing said that lawyer Romulo Macalintal’s opinion — holding the plebiscite and the polls altogether may be considered unconstitutional — is a welcome view for lawmakers since they have been suggesting that the two be held separately.

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


“I welcome the opinion of Atty. Macalintal and for me, ever since we’ve talked about conducting a plebiscite for amending the Charter, I have been consistent with my position that we cannot hold this alongside our midterm elections.  The first reason, in my opinion, is that we cannot allow the Constitution to undergo political mudslinging and be politicized,” he said.


“Number two, we cannot allow that the Constitution be tackled in the same level as a mid-term elections because discussing the Constitution should be at a different level and should be separate from other polls,” he added.

READ: Election with plebiscite is ‘doubtful constitutionality,’ says Macalintal

Suarez suggested that the plebiscite just be held earlier, before the 2025 midterm polls.

“Now, maybe we have [a] legal basis to ask that instead of holding the two together, let us just conduct the plebiscite in amending the Constitution earlier.  You know, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and we have to protect it, we have to uphold it, we have to safeguard it,”

“In doing so, we have to make sure that when we do conduct amendments and go through a plebiscite for it, the people are focused on these discussions.  Because if we release the proposed amendments, we cannot allow that the Filipino people do not understand what the amendments are and whether they are beneficial and how they are gonna help progress the country moving forward,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman noted that Macalintal’s position affirms the House stand that holding these two activities together may be counterproductive.


“May I just add, the position of Atty. Macalintal only affirms the House’ stand that a separate plebiscite should be held, and the idea of holding it together with national elections is counterproductive. It is also a reminder to our colleagues in the Senate that we would have to work with a sense of urgency,” she said.

“If the ultimate goal is basically to approve RBH 6, it should be approved at the time when we do not have to hold a plebiscite alongside the national elections,” she added.

Different House leaders are pushing to hold the plebiscite separately from the 2025 midterm polls to avoid the matter being used for politics.  But last February 28, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself said that he was looking at doing the plebiscite side-by-side with the elections to minimize expenses.

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

Eventually, Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said that if the administration is looking to hold the plebiscite and the polls together, the resolution seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution should be done by December to ensure that it coincides with the prescribed period.

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Under Article XVII, Section 4 of the Constitution 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.

TAGS: 1987 Constitution, 2025 elections, Cha-cha plebiscite, Macalintal

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