House OKs resolution on longer terms for Congressmen, local officials

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 13, 2019   •   640

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments has passed an unnumbered resolution seeking several constitutional amendments including a five-year term extension for congressmen and local officials.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said local officials can fully implement their platforms if their terms will be extended to five years.

“On the first term you make your program, you study then you’ll be able to make that plan. On the second year the local officials and the members of the House of Representatives will be implementing [the plan]. On the third year, they are now campaigning, so where is the real public service there?” he said.

Rodriguez also wants the plenary debates to begin by next week and expect the resolution to be passed by January 2020.

Other proposed constitutional amendments include legislative flexibility for foreign investments; tandem voting for president and vice president, and election of senators by region (with proposal dividing the Philippines to nine regions).

However, Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said the resolution did not go through proper process.

“Nagtataka ako kung bakit kailangan pang i-executive session ang pinapanukala nilang charter change na ito na hindi sumusunod sa mga tamang paraan para amyendahan ang Konstitusyon (I am wondering why there is a need for an executive session for the proposed charter change which does not follow the proper process in amending the Constitution),” she said.

“Mukhang gusto lang talaga nilang madaliin ang pagpasa nito at gulatin ang mamamayan (It seems like they just want to expedite the process and surprise the citizens),” she added.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

House solon wants charter change proposals shelved ‘indefinitely’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2020

Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday said he will propose the suspension of deliberations on the controversial charter change (Cha-Cha) proposals amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said he is inclined to recommend to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to “shelve Cha-Cha indefinitely” to focus on discussing measures to address the public health crisis and help the Filipino people prepare for the ‘new normal’.

The lawmaker made the proposal following claims that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other advocates initiated moves to gather up to two million signatures in support of Cha-Cha.

“This is not the time for the DILG and its allies to relaunch their signature drive and renew their push for Cha-cha. They should postpone it until this health crisis is over,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“So my message to Cha-cha advocates and their DILG patrons is: stop it, it won’t fly while there is a pandemic,” he added.

Rodriguez said pushing for Cha-Cha can wait as Congress will first have to attend to measures that will “save lives and the livelihood of our people.”

The DILG earlier denied it has launched a signature campaign for Cha-Cha, branding these reports as fake news. RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Cayetano eyes tackling ABS-CBN franchise issue in May or after SONA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 21, 2020

House of Representatives Speaker Alan Cayetano said on Thursday (February 20) that the House will tackle the ABS-CBN franchise issue a week after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“There are two options, [one] is that in May depende kung ano matapos namin (depending on what we can get done) in the next three weeks and the longer option is right after SONA—objectively, is early August,” he said during an interview with reporters.

Cayetano said session days in May are shorter compared to July. Sessions in May would last until the first month of June while sessions in July would last until October.

Kung mag-hearing tayo ng dalawang linggo at kulang ang oras tapos mag-recess tayo […] walang mangyayari (If we conducted a hearing for two weeks and we run out of time […] nothing will come out of it),he said.—AAC

Cha-Cha sees no progress in Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators seem adamant on catering to the House of Representatives’ (HOR) proposed Charter change.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said such a proposal is not a priority at this time adding that the Senate is not considering accepting it after the HOR approved its version of the bill.

The Lower House proposes the following amendments to the Constitution:

1. Legislative flexibility for foreign Investments

2. Tandem voting for president and vice president

3. Election of senators by region (with proposal dividing PH to 9 regions)

4. 5-year term for local officials and Congressmen

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairman Rufus Rodriguez is asking the senators to take time to study their proposal before deciding to drop it.

“I hope that the senators, instead of saying, it’s doomed, it’s not a priority, should look into every proposal: are they good for the country or not? That is the main issue there,” Rodriguez argued.

The lawmaker also denied allegations that the bill is “self-serving” on the part of the congressmen and that they have personal interests in pushing the proposed amendments.

“If this is approved it will only apply to those elected in 2022. All of us will go to the elections of 2022,” Rodriguez said.

“We are not extending our terms,” he added.

The Surigao Del Sur Representative stressed that the bill underwent public consultation from various sectors across the country.

The Lower House lawmakers are expected to debate on the measure at the plenary come February next year which may run for two months, according to Rodriguez. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

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