Admin lawmakers to cancel polls, railroad Cha-cha, Drilon claims
Citing unnamed sources, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday said that the allies of the President Rodrigo Duterte were attempting to “railroad” the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha) to cancel the 2019 midterm elections and extend their terms.
“Ang nakakatakot ay may planong i-railroad ang Cha-cha ng admin dahil ito ay connected sa plano nilang term extension sa congressmen at magagawa kung kanselahin ang 2019 midterm election at magkaroon ng term extension at unang casualty (ng) pagkawala ng halalan sa Mayo ay ang demokrasya dahil mawawalan ng kapangyarihan ang tao na makapamili ng kanilang pinuno,” Drilon said over a radio dzBB interview.
According to Drilon, some lawmakers at the lower House bared this plan to him.
“Sa aking pakikipag-usap sa mga congressman ire-railroad ang Cha-cha and have it ratified in October or November,” he said.
“Maliwanag ang balita ko. Dalawang sources ang nagsabi sa akin, ipopostpone ang barangay eleksyon, mga alklade ang hihingi ng postponement. Yan ay hindi tama,” added.
This plan, he said, would be negative for the country’s democracy.
“Masama ito sa ating demokrasya, hindi pwedeng madaliin ang pagbabago sa konstitusyon. Sa aking tingin itong pagpapaliban ng barangay elections para sa kapakanan ng mga kongresista lalo na ng mga kasalukuyang nakaupo,” he said.
But some senators were quick to dismiss and oppose the possibility of postponing the midterm elections next year.
Midterm polls set for May 2019 will see the election of national and local officials from senators down to the mayors and councilors of the local government units.
Senator Francis Escudero said he was against the postponement of the elections any further “if the only reason is to wait for their supposed attempt to amend the Constitution.”
“We don’t rush the passage of laws, what more amendments to the Constitution,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicento Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Sonny Angara likewise echoed Escudero and Drilon’s opposition to further postpone the elections.
“From the debates on the last postponement of the barangay elections, it seemed many senators were quite resolute that it would be the last as far as the senate was concerned. Any subsequent postponement would entail some change of heart of sorts,” Angara said.
“I’m not inclined to support yet another postponement of the barangay elections especially if the sole purpose is to accommodate a plebiscite for Charter change,” Lacson said.
The administration-backed Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and its allies in the Congress have been pushing for Cha-cha which could possibly pave the way for a federal form of government. /cbb
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