DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Poll watchdog Kontra Daya warns of a ‘no election’ scenario in 2019 with the lifting of term limits included in the draft federal constitution, considering it the “worst form of election fraud.”
The House of Representatives, on Dec. 11, approved Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No.15 on third and final reading that seeks to shift to a federal form of government with the voting of 224-22-3. The resolution was penned by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“It is clear that pro-administration legislators are rushing to replace the current 1987 Constitution. For one, they seek to hold the first national and local elections under the proposed federal form of government in May 2022,” Kontra Daya said.
The group added: “For another, the push for a plebiscite ahead of the upcoming May 2019 polls becomes apparent given the lifting of term limits for elective members of Congress.”
Under Article VIII of RBH No. 15, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, shall both serve for four years—a reduction from the current six-year term at the Senate, and a slight increase from the current three-year term at the Congress.
Kontra Daya said this provision is “masked by the unlimited number of times they[lawmakers] can be elected into the same position.” This also applies in the case of elective local government officials, with their term of office also increased from current three years to four years.
Also, Kontra Daya took note that a two-term limit is being pushed at the executive branch, under the RBH No. 15.
While the President and the Vice President’s term is reduced to four years, they may run for re-election for another term. Therefore, both officials may serve for a total of eight years compared to the current six-year term.
“Indeed, the lifting of term limits, or even just a two-year term limit for President and Vice President, makes imposing this federal constitution very tempting to the rich and powerful,” Kontra Daya said.
“Extending terms through the scuttling of the 2019 polls via a charter change maneuver is a wholesale act of fraud against the Filipino people. That would be the worst form of election fraud,” Kontra Daya said.
“Those who are planning to push this dastardly deed should drop the idea because the people are expected to resist.”(davaotoday.com)