Cebu solon says Arroyo backs move to put VP in line of succession
THE move of the House of Representatives to revert the draft federal charter to its committee on constitutional amendments has the support of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to Cebu 1st District Representative Raul del Mar.
Del Mar, in a press conference on Thursday, October 11, said it was Arroyo who convinced him to make a motion to recommit to the House committee on constitutional amendments the proposed charter.
He said Arroyo, who was among the 22 lawmakers who drafted the charter contained in Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 15, would also want to correct the proposed provision on the line of succession which currently excludes the Vice President.
“I was in the Office of the Speaker to discuss CA (Commission on Appointments) matters, and during the discussion it veered towards... after we have already finished that, the issue came up. And so, both of us shared the sentiment that it needs to be corrected,” Del Mar said, referring to the succession provision.
Under the transitory provision in RBH No. 15, the Senate President shall replace the incumbent president if a vacancy arises during the transition period or before the May 2022 elections.
Del Mar said he intends to introduce amendments to the charter to include the vice president in the line of succession during the period of amendments, to which Arroyo disagreed, saying Del Mar should make a motion on the floor immediately.
“I think I was able to tell the Speaker that this will be corrected during the period of amendments, in so far as I’m concerned. I will really do that, ano. I will introduce the amendment in that provision to put back the Vice President as the first line successor,”
“Now, she not only readily agreed. She said, we can't wait! That has to be done immediately,” said Del Mar.
Del Mar recalled that he told the speaker that it is difficult to get a motion on the floor approved as majority of the lawmakers might not support him. Arroyo, in response summoned Majority Leader Rolando Andaya.
“I said, 'it is hard to get the motion to recommit to the committee, to let the...it can’t be corrected right away. I said, it's kinda hard to do that unless the majority supports the motion,” Del Mar said.
“So, she said, 'I'll take care of that.' She called Majority Leader Andaya and so that was the last... Okay, until on the floor Majority Leader Andaya approached me and asked me if I was going to make that motion. I said, by all means if you allow me to, and more important than allowing me to if you support it. Because it's hard to get a report recommitting to a committee unless it is supported by the majority.”
On Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives recommitted RBH No. 15 to the House constitutional panel on the same day that it was scheduled for the period of sponsorship and debate on the motion of Del Mar.
Read: House draft charter reverted to committee level
Del Mar thinks that the erroneous provision was unintentionally included in the RBH 15 as it is “ nconsistent" with an earlier section under Executive Department where the vice president is in the first line of succession.
“I would like to think that this is an omission that was not intended,” he said.
“In so far as I’m concerned, I believe that there was no intention to violate the existing line of succession. Which must include the Vice President as the first successor,” he added.
Del Mar likewise expressed opposition to the lifting of term limits in the proposed constitution.
“I don’t agree with it,” he said, adding that he expects several proposals from lawmakers challenging the said provision on the draft constitution.
The approval of RBH No. 15 at the committee level had drawn adverse reactions from opposition lawmakers, who believed its approval was done in a dubious manner.
RBH No. 15 is different from the draft charter submitted by the Consultative Committee formed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The resolution, filed by Arroyo and 21 lawmakers on September 19, was approved by the House committee on constitutional amendments on October 2
Among its highlights is the lifting of term limits for lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
It also allows the President and Vice President to seek one reelection. Their terms will be cut to four years each from the current six years, but both leaders shall be eligible for one reelection. Thus, they may hold the post for a minimum of eight years.
The 1987 Constitution provides that a President may serve only one term of six years. He or she is not eligible for reelection. This provision was put in place to avert another dictatorship. (Keith A. Calayag/SunStar Philippines)