Without mincing words, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has admitted that a no-election (no-el) scenario in 2019 was possible if the proposed shift to federalism succeeds this year.
Alvarez said Congress can convene this January to tackle the proposal and submit the issue to the public through a referendum in May this year, coinciding with the planned barangay elections.
While the Constitution was silent on how they should vote on any Charter amendments, the Speaker believes that Congress should vote jointly.
“Kung merong mag question, well of course justiciable issue yan. Pupunta sa Supreme Court ‘yun,” Alvarez said in an interview on Wednesday over ABS-CBN News Channel’s morning show, “Headstart.”
Asked about talks of a no-el scenario in 2019, the Speaker said, “I have to be frank…Anything is possible.”
“You know why? Let’s be practical. Pag nag shift ka into a different form of government, unitary to federal, you need a transition government. hindi mo pwedeng basta inaprubahan mo ng Mayo, implement mo agad yan,” he said, pointing out that every Constitution provides for a transitory provision.
If the people approve via a referendum the proposed shift to a federal form of government, Alvarez said it would be better if the term of all incumbent senators would expire in 2022.
“Remember ha, yung senators kasi yung termino nila, hindi sabay-sabay mag e-expire. May mag e-expire sa 2019, may mag e-expire sa 2022. In fairness siguro mas maganda pag pina-expire mo lahat sa 2022 para wala ka ng utang…,” he said.
Alvarez said it would be only “incidental” if incumbent lawmakers would stand to gain from the proposed federalism.
Asked again about the possibility that the Senate might be dissolved if the federal form of government pushes through, the Speaker said there was nothing to be afraid of as senators can run for any other posts anyway under the new form of government.
“Kelangan ba Senado lang ang kanilang tatakbuhan? Pwede ka namang tumakbo kung ano man yugn legislative branch na maki create ng bagong Saligang Batas, dun sila tumakbo. Tumakbo silang Presidente…” he further said. /kga