MANILA - Members of the House of Representatives committee on constitutional amendments voted unanimously to lift term limits for officials in its version of the draft federal charter, a lawmaker said Thursday, saying that "90 percent" of lawmakers do not want term limits.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, chair of the panel on constitutional amendments, said he had no problem with retaining anti-dynasty provisions and term limits of officials.
"I have no problem with term limits. I have no problem with anti-dynasty. I defeated a dynasty. But at the committee level, unanimously, they voted for the lifting of term limits citing 1935 Constitution, citing 1973 Constitution," he told ANC's Early Edition.
He claimed even Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano voted in favor of lifting term limits.
Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chair of the Consultative Committee, has called the House's draft charter "bogus" and a "disaster to democracy" for its self-serving provisions.
Among the provisions of the House draft charter being hit is the lifting of term limits for lawmakers and the removal of the political dynasty ban.
Professor Edmund Tayao, a member of the Consultative Committee formed by President Duterte, noted that Congress "could forego term limits" as long as it retained provisions on party reform, anti-turncoatism, anti-political dynasties, and several others.
"Pag meron 'yun, OK lang si term limits pero what happened was entirely different. As Congressman (Veloso) is saying now, andaming nabago," he said.
He denied estimates of the President's economic managers that federalism would cost anywhere from P55 billion to P253.5 billion, saying their own estimates placed it at P13 billion.
He said the urgency in the push for federalism is due to President Duterte's backing of the proposal even before the 2016 elections.
"Whether we like it or not, this is the only President who even before he threw his hat in the electoral ring had been going around campaigning for federalism. It's an opportunity. It's not even a question of timing...Pag bago na ang Presidente mo later, e yung Presidente mo ayaw baguhin 'yung Constitution, forget about reforms," he said.