WITH President Duterte himself rejecting the no-election idea as well as the proposed term extension on elected officials, Sen. Panfilo Lacson called for other lawmakers to emulate the Chief Executive who clearly stated his strong stand against the extension of his term.
Lacson said there is no reason to doubt the President, praising Duterte for clarifying that he is not interested in prolonging his stay in Malacañang amid rumors of an extension of terms for elected officials that might be included in a move to amend the 1987 Constitution in order to pave the way for a shift to a federal government.
Senator Lacson said that the President has made himself very clear, “as he has repeatedly said he does not want to stay beyond 2022.”
According to Lacson only a number Duterte’s allies at the House of Representatives want their terms extended which he stressed is not fair to the Filipino people.
“We have to respect the voting public. Elections are the right of the Filipino people as clearly stated in the Constitution. We should not take it away from them,” Lacson said.
Lacson criticized anew congressmen who want to stay in their posts under a federal government, saying they have no shame about making a proposal that would benefit themselves.
Based on reports, President Duterte has also been saying he is willing to cut short his term instead of extending it.
Meanwhile, amid the possible charter change, the Senate will prioritize the proposed revision of the 1987 Constitution to be tackled by the Senate when it resumes its session on Monday, January 15, 2018.
According to Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the Senate would “work harder to improve the quality of life for all,” as they tackle the institution’s priority bills for the new year.
The Senate returns to work after a strong legislative performance in December after it passed the 2018 General Appropriations Act and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, both of which had been already signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law.
Included in the Senate’s priority agenda is the proposed amendments or revision of the 1987 Constitution. As of press time, three bills on the issue had been filed in the Senate by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri, all of which are set to be discussed in a hearing by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes on January 17.
Pimentel, as well as House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, had both expressed their support for convening both houses of Congress as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) as a way of amending the 1987 Constitution “to pave the way for the shift to federalism.”