Pampanga rep files reso on Charter change, eyeing maximum 10-yr term for president

PAMPANGA Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. has filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 seeking changes in the Constitution, including fixing a five-year term with one reelection for the President, instead of the present one term of six years.

In the resolution, Gonzales restated a provision in the Constitution banning the incumbent President and previous presidents from seeking the highest office again.

Under the resolution, the incumbent and past Presidents of the Philippines shall be ineligible to be a candidate again as President and to other elective positions.

He said the start of a new administration is an opportune time for the people, through their elected representatives, to revisit the 1987 Constitution.

“It has been 35 years, 12 Congresses, seven presidencies, and 12 local elections since the Charter was ratified,” he added.

Gonzales also invoked the overwhelming electoral mandate received last May 9 by President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Vice President Duterte-Carpio.

He said the President garnered 31,629,783 votes representing 58.77 percent of total votes cast, while the Vice President was credited with 32,208,417 votes, or 61.53 percent of total ballots cast.

“This clear majority mandate of our new President and Vice President would be the green light from our citizenry to proceed to the discussion on Charter change,” he said.

In proposing an extended tenure of 10 years for the President, Gonzales pointed out that the present single term of six years “appears to be insufficient” for the implementation of long-term programs and policies.

Gonzales is also proposing the same five-year stay in office for the Vice President with one reelection.

The present Constitution sets the term of office of the Vice President at six years with one reelection.

Gonzales is also proposing tandem voting, under which a vote for the President would be a vote for the Vice President belonging to the same political party.

For members of the House of Representatives and local officials, the Pampanga lawmaker is suggesting five years with one reelection, instead of the present three years with two reelections.

But the resolution provides that members of the House of Representatives on their last and final term shall be prohibited to be candidates as Representatives to the House of Representatives in the next immediate elections upon ratification of these amendments. Provided, incumbent Representatives or Congressmen on their first and second terms shall be eligible to be candidates as Representatives or Congressmen in the next immediate elections upon ratification of these amendments, provided further, it will be considered as their last terms if they are voted in office.

Gonzales said it would expand such ban to include any other elective office.

“We are now on the road to recovery, having more than P12 trillion in national debt due to the Covid-19 pandemic and most recently the high prices of fuel due to the Russia-Ukraine war. A long-term solution is wanting; hence, longer term policy on good and competent leadership should be put in place,” he said.

He said the same is true for House members, governors, mayors, and other local officials.

Gonzales is proposing that Cha-cha be effected by Congress constituting itself as a constituent assembly, which he said is the most expeditious and inexpensive way of proposing amendments to the Constitution.

Gonzales filed the same resolution in the last Congress, which failed to act on it.

In the Senate, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian had introduced a resolution proposing tandem voting for the President and Vice President.

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