OVP abolition in 'cha-cha' out of Palace's control - Roque


Posted at Jan 15 2018 12:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2018 06:13 PM

MANILA - The alleged plan to abolish the Office of the Vice President under the Charter change proposal is "beyond the control" of Malacañang, a spokesperson said Monday.

"As you know, it’s Congress, sitting as a Constituent Assembly, that will propose amendments. I’m sure that because any proposed amendment to the Constitution will be subject to the ratification of the people, ultimately it will be the people who will judge this matter," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo has criticized the proposal, noting that the office of vice-president has been in Philippine government system for 80 years.

The only time there was no vice president was during the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos, the OVP added.

"The question therefore is, how does abolishing the OVP relate to the establishment of Federalism? Or is the abolition already in service of some other, unstated, agenda?" lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo's legal adviser, said in a statement on Sunday.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said the proposed Charter change of PDP-Laban, President Rodrigo Duterte's political party, may abolish the position of Vice President.

In response to an inquiry by ABS-CBN News, Jonathan Malaya, executive director of PDP-Laban, said the party maintains that the vice president's position shall be "optional" in a semi-presidential government.

"Since we are shifting to a new semi-presidential/semi-parliamentary system, we do not think there is a need for this office under a new system but the position can be retained if it is the wish of the people," he said.

"The proposed amendments are not meant for any person or group of persons but are for the entire country and for future generations," he added.

Malaya said succession issues are resolved in a semi-presidential system since a prime minister would take over as acting president when there is a vacancy and he will also supervise the special election for the chief executive.

"Should we wish to retain the position of VP, we propose the ff: 1) in elections, a vote for the President should also be the vote for his VP in the same ticket, and 2) the VP should be given real work - as presiding officer of the Senate (rather than just being a successor to the president)," he said.