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Senate prepares anti-political dynasty provision

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

The Consultative Committee

MANILA, Philippines — The Consultative Committee (ConCom) still has to address several details of the anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

According to a member of the ConCom, former Senate President Nene Pimentel, there remain questions on whether children, as well as husbands and wives of incumbent politicians, should be prohibited from running for office.

“We should include in the definition, the relationship of public officials and mistresses,” said Pimentel.

The proposal is similar to the anti-dynasty bill filed in the Senate by the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes chairman Senator Francis Pangilinan.

The bill might be incorporated in the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

“Up to the second degree is the prohibition whether they will run simultaneously, or interchangeably,” said Pangilinan.

Meanwhile, people in the academe are against a no-election scenario in 2019.

The possible postponement of the polls surfaced due to the discussions in Congress to postpone anew the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

It can be noted there are proposals to reschedule the polls from May 14 to October 18 to pave way for the proposed federalism.

“First, this power grab is damaging democracy since Filipino voters will be deprived for one legislative term,” said University of the Philippines assistant professor of political science Gene Pilapil.

Senator Pangilinan is also not in favor of the said proposal.

“It’s too tight and hindi dapat sigurong madaliin ito kung charter change ang pinag-uusapan at pwersahan ng October. Palagay ko malaking disservice ito sa ating mamamayan,” said Pangilinan.

(It’s too tight and the charter change should not be fast-tracked. I think this is a huge disservice to the public.) — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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House Speakership hit for ‘railroading’ Cha-Cha; Senate closes doors due to lack of time

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – After only three session days, the Lower House of Congress passed on 2nd reading the proposed charter change on Tuesday, (December 4).

Makabayan congressmen hit the House leadership for ‘railroading’ the measure as they were not given time to speak and debate on the provisions of the bill.

This edifies the thought, according to the ACT Teachers Party list Rep. Antonio Tinio, that the measure is for the good of no less than House Speaker Gloria Arroyo.

“Ang tunay na laman at layunin ito ay (unlimited) political dynasties, unli-term para sa mga politiko, unli-matrial law kasi binabaan na nila ang criteria para makapagdeklara ng martial law. At unli-foreign plunder dahil binubuksan ang ekonomiya at lupain at public utility sa 100% foreign ownership,” Tinio argued.

“Magdahan-dahan tayo. There’s absolutely no reason to rush this very important measure that will impact all of us,” said Senior Minority Leader and Buhay Party list Rep. Lito Atienza adding that the bill still needs a ‘very thorough’ study  and that such a crucial measure is ‘impossible to discuss in just a few sessions.”

But Arroyo was quick to deny the allegations.

“You know that I did not participate in the debate because I have always said that my only contribution there is the mechanism for setting up the federal state. The others are all contribution of other congressmen. They should answer themselves,” she countered.

Among the controversial provisions of the bill include the removal of term limit among congressmen and anti-political dynasty. It also pushes for the adoption of the two-party system in the country.

Likewise, the bill will give the President the privilege to choose his own vice president. Both officials will be given a four-year term each and the opportunity for reelection. A college degree will also be required of all candidates prior to election.

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairperson, Vicente Veloso said the Lower House is set to pass on third and final reading the charter change measure.

The Lower House version requires a separate voting for the amended constitution. To approve the measure, the Senate needs a total of 18 votes while the House of Representatives will require at least 219 votes to proceed with the plebiscite.

However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it is highly impossible for the senators to deliberate on charter change due to lack of time.

“Wala kaming time para itake-up. Sana inapura nila ang budget para pwede namin itake-up iyan,” Sotto said.

Even Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon agreed with Sotto and said the measure is already “dead on arrival” in Senate.

But Veloso is not buying their reasons for holding off deliberations.

“Kung ayaw ninyo, sabihin ninyo kung ano ang ayaw ninyo. Hindi iyong sasabihin ninyo agad ‘dead on arrival.’ Bakit sino ba kayo? You are only one half of Congress,” he said referring to the senators. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Arroyo’s draft federal charter wants Senate President, not VP Robredo, to succeed president during transition period

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

 

FILE PHOTO: The first meeting of Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte after their inauguration on a military ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, July 01, 2016. (Office of the Vice President)

 

MANILA, Philippines — If President Rodrigo Duterte is unable to preside over the country’s transition to the new system of government, the Senate president is the next in line and not Vice President Leni Robredo.

This is based on the resolution of both Houses No. 15 authored by House Speaker Gloria Arroyo.

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Vicente Veloso explained that they decided to skip Vice President Robredo due to the election protest against her filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos.

“We wouldn’t know who is the vice president would be then. Would it be Robredo, Bongbong Marcos? But look at the uncertainty, I’ve been jurist for long time there is no certainty when it comes to finality of decision,” said Veloso.

But Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman questioned this provision.

“As of now the there is a vice president and that election protest will have to take its course. But meanwhile, we have a duly elected vice president who is incumbent and should not be deprived of the constitutional right to succeed to the presidency,” said Lagman.

Akbayan party-list Representative Tom Villarin also said the administration might be trying to impede Robredo’s succession, especially with the President’s current state of health.

“The problem now is you have the health condition of the President which the President admits and of course the President always been saying that he does not like Vice President Robredo to succeed him,” said Villarin.

The draft federal constitution also seeks to remove the term limit of senators and congressmen. Congressman Veloso says term limits breed political dynasty.

“Now that we have term limits in senator if you will read the history book the famous there would be Mrs. Tolentino, Mrs. Diokno, the spouses of senators because with term limit comes dynasty you will pass your work to those who can continue,” said the chairman.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement that the removal of lawmakers’ term limits is for GMA to still run in Congress and remain in power.

He said their group will do everything to stop the passage of this measure.

“So GMA in effect can still run for Congress; this is designed, thus, for her and many others to remain in power ad infinitum. Just like before, we must do everything to derail this by pulling the plug now,” said Zarate.

But according to Speaker Arroyo, “ The only thing I added was a provision that instead of establishing the federal states, there’s a mechanism to establish federal states. All the other provisions were already submitted by the Con-Com and everyone else. That’s the only thing I added to make it my version.”

Under Section 2 Article 17 of the draft charter change, any move to extend the terms of President Duterte and Vice President Robredo beyond June 30, 2022, is prohibited.

The first national and local election under the federal system of government will be conducted on the second Monday of May 2022.

Solons admitted there is a very low chance that the Senate will pass its version of the proposal. But the House committee on constitutional amendments said it will do its part to pass the resolution on time to start the transition period on May 2019.

The Lower House is now deliberating the draft charter in the plenary for second reading. — Grace Casin 

 

 

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Fiscal risks of federalism delays cha-cha

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Senate has maintained that deliberations on the proposed federal charter will not be rushed despite calls from the Lower House to fast track discussions.

According to Senate committee on constitutional amendments chairman Francis Pangilinan, there are several questions to be addressed in the campaign for charter change.

These include the warnings of the Duterte administration’s economic managers on the possible threats of federalism on the country’s economy.

“Hindi biro ang usapin ng charter change na dapat magkaroon na ng charter change dahil baka ang maging resulta nito ay man-made calamity, both political and economic disaster,” said Pangilinan.

At the Senate hearing on Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez cited the possible fiscal risks of implementing the proposed federal charter.

He said country’s investment-grade credit ratings of the country which allows the country to borrow money with lower interest rates “will go to hell” if the proposed shift to a federal government pushes through.

According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), a total of P120 billion is needed by the government to make the shift.

Due to the issues raised, senators urge for more serious discussions on the matter.

“Bakit hindi na lang after May 2019 na mag-ConCon para magkaroon ng separate na halalan para mabusisi ng husto ang revision ng ating Saligang Batas,” said Pangilinan.

Until now, senators have yet to decide on how to amend or revise the Constitution despite its progress in the lower chamber. — Nel Maribojoc

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