MANILA - The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday tagged as "ridiculous" a draft charter that removes her from the presidential line of succession.
Under the charter proposed by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other congressmen, the Senate President, not the Vice President, will be President Rodrigo Duterte's number 2 in case he is incapacitated during the transition to federalism.
This aims to prevent "instability" that comes with the poll protest contesting the Robredo's victory in the 2016 vice presidential race, said Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, one of the proponents.
"The election protest filed by former senator Bongbong Marcos as ground for ousting VP Leni is clearly frivolous if not outright ridiculous," Robredo's lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said in a statement.
"Since when did a pending election protest be the basis of succession to the highest position of the land? Veloso’s ground has no visible means of any legal or factual support. It is baseless and do not deserve any consideration," he added.
Macalintal also questioned why the draft's proponents, who are Duterte's allies, seem to be implying that the President is sick with their talk of the line of succession.
"Sa kabila ng pahayag ng Malacanan na mas malakas pa sa kalabaw ang pangulo, bakit mga kaalyado niya ang parang nagpapahiwatig na ang Pangulong Duterte ay may sakit na maaaring makaapekto sa kanyang panunungkulan?" he said.
"Kung siya ay may sakit hindi succession ang dapat pag-usapan kundi dalangin para sa kanyang kalusugan. Kung may sakit ba ang inyong tatay pag-uusapan na ninyo agad kung sino ang magmamana at magkano ang mamanahin?" he added.
(Despite Malacañang's statement that the President is stronger than a carabao, why do his allies seem to be implying that President Duterte is sick and this may affect his term? If he is sick, succession should not be the one being discussed, but rather, prayers for his health. If your father is sick, will you talk about who will inherit what and how much will it be?)
Macalinta said lawmakers may lack the time to make a final federal charter because they have yet to resolve whether they will vote for it separately or jointly.
Many people have also yet to understand the federal system of government, he noted.
The House's draft charter has been endorsed to the chamber's plenary. It is separate from the draft federal charter of Duterte's consultative committee.
The shift to a federal government is a centerpiece measure being advocated by the Duterte government. The President earlier endorsed the consultative committee's draft charter to Congress.