SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Rep. Raul Del Mar (1st District, Cebu City) disclosed in a press briefing on Thursday that he and former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo share the same sentiment with regard to amending Paragraph 2, Section 4, Article 17 of the Resolution of Both Houses 15, which, instead of the Vice President, designates the incumbent Senate President as the President of the Philippines in case vacancy arises.
“I was in the Office of the Speaker to discuss CA matters…after we have already finished that, the issue came up. And so, both of us shared the sentiment that it needs to be corrected,” he recounted.
Del Mar deemed the transitory provision inconsistent with Paragraph 1, Section 8 of Article 9 on the Executive Department that states, “In the case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term.”
“So how can one provision be different from the other? So that needs to be really amended to follow the normal line of succession,” said Del Mar.
Del Mar also told the media that excluding the Vice President in the line of succession as provided in the resolution was an unintended exclusion.
“I didn’t have first-hand knowledge on this so I think you are in a better position to go into that. But 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 explained.
Regarding term limits, which is presumed to have made the bill unpopular to the public, Del Mar clarified this is just one of the recommendations made by the Committee that will be subjected to further deliberations.
“Not all of the recommendations of the committee will be passed. After the sponsorship and debate stage, interpellations are through, then we will go into amendments and that’s where I expect so many amendments to come on the different provisions of this draft constitution including [the term limits],” he explained.
Del Mar also made it clear that he does not intend to justify this provision, because he disagrees with it.
When asked about the probable purpose why this is being pushed by some lawmakers, he said, “Well, the fundamental reason will be that there is already an existing limit on terms, and that the people are the ones who have the power to limit this. Not only after three terms but even after one term, they can vote you out, if you don’t deserve their trust and confidence.”
On the last plenary session prior to the recess of the House of Representatives, Del Mar motioned to recommit RBH 15 to the Committee on Constitutional Amendments.
It was also mentioned by the legislator that Speaker Arroyo did not merely agree to the motion, but she even directed to fast track it.
Meanwhile, Del Mar underscored that getting an approval to recommit RBH 15 to the Committee would be difficult without the support of the Majority.
“So, she said I’ll take care of that! She called Majority Leader Andaya and so that was the last…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,” he said. | Monel Gonzales