By Genalyn Kabiling
The 2019 midterm elections would push through as scheduled unless a new Constitution is ratified early, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque maintained that the President is duty-bound to implement the country’s law mandating the holding of elections every three years.
Roque issued the statement after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez raised a possible no-election scenario for a smooth transition to a federal system.
“Ang Presidente po ang tagapagpatupad ng ating Saligang Batas. Hanggang hindi po mababago ang petsa ng halalan na nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas, ipatutupad po ‘yan ng Presidente – matutuloy po ang eleksiyon ng 2019 [The President is the implementor of the Constitution. While the date of the elections is not changed in the Constitution, the President will implement it. The 2019 elections in will push through],” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“Ang only possibility po kung ma-ratify ng mas maaga itong proposed new constitution in which case na ‘87 Constitution would cease to have legal effect pero habang wala pa pong bagong Saligang Batas sisiguraduhin po ng Presidente magkaka-eleksiyon [The only possibility is if the proposed new constitution is ratified early in which case, the 1987 Constitution would cease to have legal effect. But while there is no new Constitution, the President will ensure there will be elections],” he added.
Alvarez earlier proposed the cancellation of the 2019 polls so lawmakers could supposedly work on the proposal to revise the Constitution, particularly the shift to a federal form of government. The Davao lawmaker said such poll cancellation would be practical to ease the planned transition to federalism.
A consultative committee assigned by the President to review the Constitution recently submitted a draft federal charter to the Chief Executive.
The President however asked the committee to revise a provision designating him as transition leader, saying he was not interested in the role. Duterte instead suggested the election of a leader who will supervise the transition until the federal government officials are elected by 2022.