By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Office of Vice President (OVP) may be “unnecessary” to the government should a federal system be adopted in the country, according to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
Pimentel, president of the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), explained that under the proposed federalism, the role of vice president could be carried out by a prime minister.
The ruling political party is pushing a hybrid of presidential and parliamentary system government in which a president would be elected by the public. The elected president, in turn, will nominate a prime minister subject to the approval of the parliament.
Pimentel said that with such scheme, the vice president may be unnecessary as the prime minister can take over its duty to replace the president in case of a vacancy.
“’Pag natanggal ’yung president, ang magiging acting president ’yung prime minister, so hindi na po talaga kailangan ng vice president (When the president unseated, the acting president will be the prime minister, so there won’t be any need for a vice president),” he said.
The Senate chief, however, clarified that the party will not impose on the public the abolition of the OVP as it remains “optional” in the PDP-Laban proposal.
“Huwag kayong mag-alala diyan. Sinabi ko naman sa previous speeches ko na optional lang yan (Don’t worry about it. I had said in previous speeches that it’s optional),” he said.
He added that the supposed abolition of the OVP also has to be approved in the people through a plebiscite, saying the public will decide “if they want still a vice president.”
“Kung talagang clamor ng taong-bayan, eh di ireretain natin. Pero ipapaliwang po natin sa taong bayan na sayang, kasi surplusage na po yan… Eh kayang-kaya naman natin ayusin yun, na prime minister ang maging acting president,” he said.