Monday, March 18, 2019

Officials: Senate may not agree on federalism

NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Isabela Mayor Joselito Malabor said they believed the Senate may not agree on the proposed federal charter as many of them may not get a Senate seat anymore.

Under the draft submitted by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to amend the 1987 Constitution, the senators will be elected by region – two for each federated region.

"It's always self-interest that matters," Lacson said, citing that the Senate has even taken out the provision on Anti-Political Dynasty on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

However, Lacson believed that once a plebiscite would be held on the proposed federalism, it will be approved.

"Based on past experiences, the plebiscite usually favors what is being placed on the table. So most likely, the plebiscite will be approved,” the vice governor said.

The plebiscite for federalism will be determined by the House of Representatives and the Senate once Duterte endorses the draft submitted to him by ConCom.

"It's up to the president to forward the draft to Congress. From there, I think the public will hopefully be able to understand the charter change," Lacson said.

He said that he is also amenable to the proposal of ConCom for all elected officials to have a four-year term with a re-election or a total of eight years.

Majority of the members of the House of Representatives are favorable to federalism.

"We will see how the senators will act with regards to the draft," Lacson added.

Meanwhile, Malabor also believed that the shift to federalism may face tough opposition at the Senate.

Malabor, who is an advocate of federalism, said that he sees no problem with the lower house as the majority of the congressmen is allied with Duterte.

Malabor said that most of the senators want to retain the old system where they are voted at large.

He also welcomes the inclusion of Siquijor into the proposed Negrosanon Federated Region (NFR).

"We should thank the members of ConCom for being open-minded to the sentiments of the people during their consultations which resulted into the inclusion of 18 proposed federated regions,” he added.


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