Draft charter wants Senate president, not VP, to succeed president during transition

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2018 09:58 AM | Updated as of Oct 09 2018 11:23 AM

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MANILA - A draft of the proposed new charter wants the Senate President, not the Vice President, to be next in the presidential line of succession during the transition to federalism.

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, chair of the panel on constitutional amendments, said this aims to prevent "instability" that comes with the poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

The poll protest against Robredo was filed by former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. after he lost by a slim margin in the 2016 elections.

"What if come January, Marcos wins and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal says this is immediately executory? He succeeds. The following 3 months, on a motion for reconsideration, Robredo wins. Then on another motion for reconsideration, Marcos wins. This creates an instability," he told ANC on Tuesday.

The House's draft charter says the Senate President will act as chief executive in case "vacancy arises by reason of removal, resignation, permanent incapacity or death" during the transition to federalism, until a replacement has been chosen.

Meanwhile, the camp of Robredo on Tuesday called the proposal by the House mere "political calisthenics" and said pending election protests cannot be the basis of succession.

Romulo Macalintal, lead lawyer of Robredo, added that by proposing the change in the line of succession, the lawmakers seem to hinting something about the President's health.

"Kung siya ay may sakit, hindi succession ang dapat pagusapan kundi dalangin para sa kanyang kalusugan. Kung may sakit ba ang inyong tatay paguusapan na ninyo agad kung sino ang magmamana at magkano ang mamanahin?" he said.

(If the President is ill, the lawmakers should not talk about succession. They should pray for his health. If you're father is sick, would you talk about inheritance?)

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy because he suffers from Barret’s esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, but his aides maintain that he is in good health.

Veloso stressed that the proposed change in the line of presidential succession is just a transitory provision that will only last for three years.

"If we will just put malice aside, remember that this good only for 3 years the most, ano? Transitory provision ito. We have figured out na ang election natin for president and vice president will be May 2022," he added.

The House's version of the new federal charter is currently being debated in the plenary.--with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News