Philippines: House draft charger takes VP out of line of succession

  • A draft federal charter prepared by administration lawmakers excludes Vice President Leni Robredo from the presidential line of succession and designates the Senate president as the automatic successor to the president in case of a transition to a federal system.
  • On 8 Oct 18, the House started tackling Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) No. 15, which is the version of a federal constitution authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 21 of her colleagues.
  • In the draft charter, next to the Senate president in the succession line are the Speaker and the chief justice.
  • Arroyo said she and her House colleagues consider it “our obligation to bring it (Charter change) as far as where we can bring it.
  • The Arroyo group’s version of a federal charter retains the present presidential structure of government with a president, vice president and Congress with a Senate and House of Representatives.
  • It does not automatically create federal states. It gives such authority to the legislature. This is the provision that the former president said she contributed.
  • The president and vice president are to be elected at large together. A vote for the president is a vote for the vice president to avoid a scenario where the president is at odds with the vice president, like in the case of President Duterte and Robredo.
  • The president and vice president will have a term of office of four years with one reelection. Twenty four senators will be voted at large and House members by congressional districts.
  • Like the president and vice president, senators and House members will have a term of office of four years. But the proposed new charter does not contain a reelection limit for members of Congress.
  • In voicing his unwillingness to entertain another Cha-cha, opposition senator Drilon said there’s not much time left as Congress would be very busy in the coming weeks deliberating on the proposed PHP3.757tr budget for 2019.
  • Moreover, some members of Congress would also be campaigning for 2019’s midterm election, he added.
  • Apart from lack of time, Drilon said some provisions in the draft resolution were questionable, especially the one redefining the order of succession for the presidency.
  • He said a well-defined order of succession is important to ensure political stability in the country. Drilon said senators could always replace the Senate president through voting.
  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said there is no more time for the Senate to even talk about charter change. This is echoed by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri who cited the lack of time for tackling any Cha-cha initiative.
  • The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo has also questioned the proposed draft federal charter.
  • Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s legal counsel, said the proposal was a mere “political calisthenics” based on the reason of Rep. Vicente Veloso (Leyte).
  • Veloso, chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said this proposal was made to prevent “instability” that comes with the election protest against Robredo.
  • Robredo’s lawyer raised questions on why Duterte’s allies appear to be implying that the president would not be able to perform his duties while Malacañang has been insisting that he is healthy.
  • The vice president’s lawyer said the Senate and the House would not even have enough time to make a final draft of the proposed shift to federalism.
  • “The Senate and the House could not even resolve how they would vote, whether jointly or separately. There is still the need to submit the proposed charter for people’s ratification and the process would involve substantial time and public funds which will never be achieved till the next presidential polls in 2022,” the lawyer said.

External Link: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/10/10/1858838/house-draft-charter-takes-vp-leni-robredo-out-succession

External Link: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/10/09/1858607/robredo-camp-hits-draft-charters-ridiculous-basis-omitting-vp-line-succession

10-Oct-2018


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