MANILA - The House of Representatives has backtracked and is reinstating the Vice President in the line of succession in the draft constitution proposed by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other lawmakers.
Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar made a motion on the issue during the plenary session Wednesday.
Del Mar, in his motion, proposed an amendment reinstating the Vice President as the next in the presidential line of succession during the transition to federalism.
There was no objection to Del Mar's motion. Presiding Officer Linabelle Ruth Villarica recommitted the controversial measure back to its committee.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, chair of the panel on constitutional amendments, earlier said the proposed new charter wants the Senate President, and not the Vice President, should be next in the presidential line of succession "to prevent instability" that comes with the poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Bayan Muna chairman and former lawmaker Neri Colmenares has alleged that the measure is a way for Arroyo to return to the presidency.
“Vice-President Leni Robredo will be rendered practically jobless under Article XVIII Sec. 4 of RBH 15 as she is taken out of the line of succession. There will be massive dislocation in the judiciary and the entire government as government offices are abolished and its officials and employees replaced," Colmenares said.
“The assertion of Speaker Gloria Arroyo that her Cha-cha was not designed to benefit her and that her only participation is the crafting of the federal structure is untrue. Her RBH 15 is littered with self-serving provisions that benefit her," he added.
Incumbent Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, meanwhile, expressed surprise because Arroyo allegedly said previously that charter change may not happen during her remaining time as congresswoman.
Zarate cited what he thinks are the self-serving provisions in the charter proposal being pushed by the Arroyo leadership. “Na-highlight na naman iyung ayaw nila ng eleksyon, extension ng kanilang termino up to 2022, at lifting of the term limits."
"Ayaw din nila ng provisions on anti-dynasty,” he added.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said under the charter proposal, the shift to a federal government is only optional.
“Dito inilalatag na ng naghaharing-grupo ng Duterte, Arroyo, at Marcos ang kanilang roadmap para makapanatili sa poder beyond the term of President Duterte kaya wala nang pederalismo. Ang pederalismo dito option na lang eh,” Tinio said.
“Ang principal author niyan si Speaker Arroyo mismo kaya tamang tawagin ito ang cha-cha ni Arroyo... ito ang pinakaself-serving, pinakamakasariling bersyon ng cha-cha na inihapag sa publiko,” he added. - report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News