By Mario Casayuran
The 2019 mid-term elections must go on as scheduled.
This was insisted by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), following reports that the 2019 elections and 2011 presidential elections might be compromised because of supposed controversial pro-Duterte administration moves that President Duterte would seek another six-year term.
Despite vehement denials by President Duterte himself that he is not interested in another term, the political opposition maintained that the proposed changes in the 1987 Constitution through the Constitutional Commission created by Duterte would allow him to seek another term.
The voluminous recommendations to changes in the Constitution (charter change or cha cha) and adoption of a federal form of government was submitted last Monday to President Duterte by the commission chaired by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the president of the Philippine Republic is allowed to serve one six-year term only.
‘’Any talk of term extension or no-election scenario leaves a bad taste in the mouth, especially when prices of rice and other basic food items are rising and government has just increased taxes,’’ Pangilinan said.
‘’Trabaho at dagdag na sahod ng mamamayan, at hindi dagdag na termino at sweldo ng pulitiko ang sigaw ng taumbayan,’’ he asid. (The cry of Filipinos is jobs and salary/wage increases, not extended terms of office and increased pay of politicians.)
‘’Hindi tayo papayag na balewalain ang sagradong karapatan ng mamamayan na piliin ang kanilang napupusuan sa halalan,’’ he stressed. (We will not allow the sacred right of a citizen to choose his candidates in scheduled elections.)
Kung uunahin lang ang interes ng mga pulitiko ay huwag na tayong mag-Cha-cha,’’ he added. (It is better not to change the Constitution at all if the interests of politicians take the front seat).