Marañon, Benitez back Charter Change

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Saturday, August 16, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and third district Representative Alfredo Benitez are supporting the moves for Charter change (Chacha).

Marañon said he believes that the proposal will push through while Benitez said that Congress still has time for Charter change and that they may do it through legislation.

The governor said he has been advocating for constitutional amendment especially on electing senators, and this he thinks must be done per district like in the United States where senators are elected per state or region.

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"In the country, the senators are elected at-large that's why celebrities are winning the election because of their popularity," Marañon said.

There are still lot of changes that needs to be done like in the judiciary because the country has a very slow judicial system, he added.

Benitez, for his part, said there should be a mechanism to amend the Constitution because the current situation may no longer be applicable in the coming years.

"I am amenable to Chacha," he said, adding that the House of Representatives has been pushing for Charter change. "We have been very open to debating Chacha."

Benitez said the Visayan Bloc will have a meeting on August 18 and one of the topics could be the proposed Charter change.

"Remember when we proposed for Charter change, we limit the amendments to economic provisions. To touch on political subject, this could be not the right time," the legislator said.

Benitez pointed out that it may not be right for the people to extend the term of public officials.

"It is a delicate issue to tackle," he said.

Aquino’s extension

Moreover, Marañon said that if President Benigno Aquino III will agree to extend his term beyond 2016, he will support him.

"Only fools do not change their minds. I will support him because he is one of the best. PNoy is honest, he is not luxurious. It's easy to criticize but it's hard to perform," the governor said.

Marañon said Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II "is the best successor but I will support PNoy if he runs again."

"The country still needs him. Six years is short for a good president but too long for a bad one," he added.

Meanwhile, Benitez said, "I don't think that the President categorically said that he is running for the second term. I think he knows better than that. That is something that we will have to see. I don't think he will do it."

The lawmaker said that in his State of the Nation Address, Aquino was very sincere when he said that he is going to end his term in 2016.

“Definitely, there will be an election in 2016,” Benitez said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 16, 2014.

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