ANYTHING is possible including no-elections the shift to federalism has taken place.
This is the perception of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who continues to push for Charter Change this 2018.
In a television interview, Alvarez admitted that the no-el scenario is very likely in 2019 if the proposed shift to federalism happens this year.
“I have to be frank…Anything is possible,” Alvarez said.
“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 added.
In May 2019, the country is supposed to elect 12 senators, district and party-list representatives and other local officials.
However, Congress is set to start deliberating on Charter Change (Cha-Cha) this year and among the proposed constitutional amendments is the shift from presidential form of government to federal.
According to Alvarez, if the people approve via a referendum the proposed shift to a federal form of government, it would be better if the term of all incumbent senators and other local officials 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.
Earlier Alvarez said he would propose to Senate President Koko Pimentel to convene the senators and representatives to form a technical working group (TWG) to help draft Charter Change.
Alvarez said Congress can convene this January to tackle the proposal and submit the report to the public through a referendum in May this year, coinciding with the planned barangay elections.
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.
Alvarez said it would be only “incidental” if incumbent lawmakers would stand to gain from the proposed federalism.
When asked about the possibility that the Senate might be dissolved if the federal form of government pushes through, he 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 yung legislative branch na maki-create ng bagong Saligang Batas, dun sila tumakbo. Tumakbo silang Presidente…na whatever,” he further said.