By: Elena Grace Flores
As President Rodrigo Duterte tries to revive Cha-cha or Charter change to give way to federalism, he warned lawmakers against using it for their selfish motives as the issues in the past during former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s time, or Congress will be shut down or abolished.
Duterte expressed in a Malacañang speech when sensing the growing opposition to his plan to revise the 1987 Constitution through Congress as a Constituent Assembly, instead of an elected Constitutional Convention that would cost the government up to 50 billion pesos.
Majority Floor Leader Fariñas of the House of Representatives said he was in favor of lifting of term limits, which he said can safeguard constitutional monopoly. Term limits had led to political dynasties; he said and added that; “The term limits in the Constitution are problematic. There are term limits, but the Constitution prohibits political dynasty. But the root of political dynasty is the term limits. When you are not eligible for reelection anymore, people will clamor for someone related to you for the continuity of service, so you will field your wife, or son or daughter,” Fariñas told reporters. “That’s the reality. I have been here in politics since the 1980s,” he added.
To prove taht Duterte was not in favor of lifting term limits just like what Arroyo was accused of, the president offered to step down early when a new Constitution is adopted by 2019 where presidential elections will be called.
Duterte initially preferred to amend the 1987 Constitution through
“There will be a lot of debates before it is presented to the people. We will consult. We will listen to the people. And what we will do is not final. We will not do anything that will not be voted upon by our people,” Fariñas added.
However, one issue will still be debated upon whether the House and the Senate will vote jointly or separately in a Constituent Assembly, because this is not specified in the 1987 Constitution.
The majority blocs of the House and the Senate is expected to convene in a caucus this Tuesday to discuss the issue.