MANILA - A fresh attempt for charter change allowing the president and other officials to seek reelection will not benefit newly-elected President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr or Vice-President Sara Duterte, the bill's proponent said Monday.
Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. last week filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, which seeks a 5-year term with one reelection for president, vice-president, lawmakers and local officials. The Constitution bans presidents from seeking reelection after their single 6-year term ends. Vice presidents may run for reelection once.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Gonzales denied that he filed it so that President Marcos and Vice President Duterte would benefit, saying that he also filed the bill under the 17th and 18th Congresses.
"Kung maaaprove po ng 19th Congress, magstart po ito 2025, midterm po ito ng ating Pangulo and Vice President. Hindi na po sila pwede tumakbo sa bagong batas na ito," he said.
(If this will be approved by the 19th Congress, it will start in 2025, midterm of our President and Vice President. They cannot run under this law.)
He also denied critics' claims that the term extension was "self-serving" as he was on his last term as a lawmaker and cannot run for reelection.
"Swerte po yung mga 2nd term, meron pa silang natitirang term. Kung ma-a-approve po ito…meron kang additional term with this new law," he said.
(Those who are serving under a second term are lucky, they still have a remaining third term. If this will be approved...they will have an additional term with this new law.)
Gonzales said the current single term of 6 years "appears to be insufficient" for long-term programs and policies.
“We are now on the road to recovery, having more than P12 trillion in national debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently the high prices of fuel due to the Russia-Ukraine war," he said in an earlier interview.
"A long-term solution is wanting; hence, longer term policy on good and competent leadership should be put in place,” he added.
DEPENDENCE ON POLITICAL PERSONALITIES
For his part, political analyst Edmund Tayao said a single term for elected officials was not "really advisable" and "other countries have also revisited this supposed reform."
"Single-term is not really advisable because when you elect a President there's a lack of mechanism by which the people can get back and have him accountable for the 2nd term," he said.
However, he also pointed out that seeking continuity by lifting term limits of elected officials is too simplistic, adding that the Philippines needs to "cure" its dependence on political personalities and "have real political parties to begin with."
"The continuity that we're aspiring for would not be that difficult because the political party will serve as the institutional memory," he told ANC's Headstart.
"When you start charter change with the issue of term limits the people are convinced they're changing the constitution because they want to prolong their power," he added.
On the chances of the charter change succeeding, Gonzales said it would depend on the public.
"Marami pa pong debate yan, we will discuss it as a body, at the Senate. Magkakaroon ng plebisito. At the end of the day, the Filipinos will decide," he said.
(There will be many debates, we will discuss it as a body, at the Senate. There will be a plebiscite.)