Robredo camp: Is abolishing OVP a ‘hidden agenda’ in draft Constitution?
Published: 4:44 p.m., Jan. 14, 2018 | Updated: 11:36 p.m., Jan. 14, 2018
The camp of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s suspects abolishing the Office of the Vice President could be a “hidden agenda” under the draft Constitution being pushed by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
In a statement on Sunday, Robredo’s legal counsel, Ibarra “Barry” Gutierrez III, pointed out that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) “has been a feature of our republic for over 80 years, ever since it was created under the 1935 Constitution.”
“The only time since then that we have had no VP was during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos,” Gutierrez said. “That said, the current proposals to revise the Constitution are supposedly anchored on a drive to promote and institute a federal system of government.”
“The question therefore is, how does abolishing the OVP relate to the establishment of federalism? Or is the abolition already in service of some other, unstated, agenda?” he added.
Former Rep. Neri Colmenares also expressed alarm on Sunday over the removal of the Vice President from the line of succession under the PDP-Laban proposal, which meant the Senate President would replace the President in the event of death, permanent disability, resignation or removal from office.
“Under the PDP-Laban’s proposed Constitution, the Office of the Vice President will be abolished by 2019 if they succeed in having the new Constitution ratified during the 2019 elections. Vice President Leni Robredo will be ousted from her office long before her term ends in 2022,” Colmenares said.
Two consecutive terms
“While PDP-Laban may argue that they will not apply this to [Vice President] Robredo, this is not expressed in the PDP-Laban Constitution since they have refused to divulge their transitory provision,” he said.
Colmenares noted that Section 3, Article VII of the PDP-Laban draft would allow the President to serve up to two consecutive terms and contained no provision disqualifying President Duterte from running in 2022.
“Previous [attempts to amend the Constitution], and this [new effort to amend] have been about eliminating term limits, extending terms, [no elections] and other self-serving objectives. Even if one supports federalism, [the amendment of the Constitution through a constituent assembly must be opposed because of its draconian measures, antipeople provisions and self-serving motivations,” he said. /atm /pdi
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