2019 elections still a go, says Palace

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2018 05:25 PM | Updated as of Jul 12 2018 05:45 PM

MANILA - Next year's mid-term elections will push through absent a change in the Charter, a Palace spokesperson said Thursday, following a pronouncement from the House Speaker that the polls might not happen amid efforts to shift to a federal form of government. 

“Ang Presidente po ang tagapagpatupad ng ating Saligang Batas. Hanggang hindi po mababago ang petsa ng halalan na nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas, ipatutupad po ‘yan ng Presidente – matutuloy po ang eleksiyon ng 2019,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque told reporters.

(The President implements the Constitution. Until the provision in the Constitution stating the dates of elections is changed, the President will implement what is written. The 2019 elections will push through.)

“Ang only possibility po ay kung ma-ratify ng mas maaga itong proposed new constitution in which case na [the] ‘87 Constitution would cease to have legal effect. Pero habang wala pa pong bagong Saligang Batas, sisiguraduhin po ng Presidente magkaka-eleksiyon.”

(The only possibility is if the new constitution will be ratified earlier, in which case the ‘87 Constitution would cease to have legal effect. Until there is no new Constitution, the President will see to it that there will be an election.)

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said that it would be "practical" to postpone the mid-term elections next year to facilitate charter change.

“Hindi naman po kinakailangang magpaliwanag, dahil alam naman natin na independiyenteng sangay ng gobyerno ang Kongreso. At alam din naman siguro ng ating mambabatas ang obligasyon ng Presidente ay tagapagpatupad po ng Saligang Batas at ng ating mga batas,” Roque said.

(There is no need for explanation because we know that Congress is an independent branch of government. The legislators also know that the President is obligated to implement the Constitution and our laws.)

The Palace is "optimistic" that Congress will be able to ratify the new federal charter by 2019, despite several lawmakers saying that it is not a priority for them now.

“The President has said na nga na if it is finally ratified by the people, then he will step down. And he is hoping that both the Consultative Committee and Congress will adopt his suggestion calling for a Transitory Provision providing that the transition leader will be an elected post,” Roque said.