By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Contrary to his belief, presumptive House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano appeared to have failed in convincing some senators to support Charter change (Cha-cha) by proposing the extension of their terms.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said Cayetano’s suggestion of longer terms for lawmakers could further hurt plans for Cha-cha and federalism in the upcoming 18th Congress.
“Incoming House Speaker Cayetano’s longer-term limit suggestion: Starting on the wrong foot, or delivering the wrong message. It’s another way of saying goodbye to cha-cha under the 18th Congress,” Lacson posted on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
“I would say, country first before self-interest,” he added.
Days after being announced as the President’s choice for House Speaker, the Taguig City-Pateros representative bared plans to push for either an extension or removal of term limits when he assumes the highest post in the House of Representatives. This, he claimed, would convince the Senate to support President Duterte’s proposal to revise of the 1987 Constitution.
“While we will push for federalism, I think there is a way that the Senate will agree, that we push either for four years no term limit, or five years three term limit. It is not a political thing. It is a practical thing,” Cayetano said before a meeting of lawmakers.
Earlier, he lamented how the three-year term for congressmen was too short.
While pushing for his own version of term extension under their party’s federalism proposal, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, for his part, maintained that there should be a limit to the term of office of lawmakers.
“Let’s just wait [for the proposal]. Its merits will come out when it reaches floor discussions…But off hand, I still want to have term limits so that we force new blood…especially if you couple it with anti-political dynasty provision,” he told reporters in Filipino during a press briefing in Senate.
Pimentel said term limits would also make the country’s political system “more inclusive.”