Postponement of 2019 polls to spark outrage, Monsod warns

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2018 11:13 AM | Updated as of Jul 13 2018 11:15 AM

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MANILA - Postponement of next year's elections would be faced with public outrage as Filipinos don't like politicians extending their terms, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution said Friday.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said elections might not be held next year to give way to discussions on charter change, given candidacies have to be filed by October.

"I wish they would do that because I think the people would be very angry. Hindi naman g*go yung mga kababayan natin. One of the things they don’t like is politicians extending their terms beyond the term for which they were voted for by the people," lawyer and 1987 Constitutional Commission member Christian Monsod told ANC's Early Edition.

"If they do that, I think they will face a very outraged voting population," he said.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, a member of President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution, said he is against canceling the elections next year and having the incumbents stay on a hold-over capacity.

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Congress, by merely passing a law, cannot change what the Constitution states, he said.

Lawmakers then can either work hard to submit a draft to the plebiscite before 2019 or leave the matter to the next Congress, he said.

"Kung gagawin ng susunod na Kongreso 'yan, when the Congress meets after the elections, alam naman ng nahalalal na because a new Constitution will be enforced, posibleng mababawasan yung termino nila," he said.

(If the next Congress does that, then the elected lawmakers would know that because a new Constitution will be enforced, their term may be cut short.)

"That is better than extending term and cancelling elections because that will violate the Constitution of 1987," he added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said if the election date is being changed for the sake of extending lawmakers' terms office to afford them time to change the Charter, then "amendment to the Constitution must be made."

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also said the midterm elections next year would proceed absent a change in the Constitution, as the President would only implement what is indicated in the present charter.