Cayetano’s threat to cut Senators’ term gets mixed reactions

Published July 13, 2019, 7:46 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The threat of Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano to cut the terms of senators to three years still has to get the nod of the Senate to be realized.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano answers questions from members of the media during an ambush interview following the recommendation by the Commission on Appointments Foreign Affairs Committee of his confirmation as DFA Secretary at the Office of the Senate in Pasay City on Wednesday. (JAY GANZON / MANILA BULLETIN)
Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano

This was the reminder of Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to the presumptive House Speaker when asked to comment on the latter’s pronouncements following objections to this proposal to extend the terms of congressmen.

“It takes two to tango,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters Saturday.

The administration-allied senator, however, said he is open to giving members of the Upper Chamber a term of four years with one or two reelections.

Earlier, he said that under the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) federalism proposal, senators, who would represent regions, will have four-year terms.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for his part, wondered how Cayetano will trim the term of senators.

“How? How?” Sotto told reporters when sought to comment.

“Paano mo gagawin na i-cut ang tenure ng government official na mandated ng Constitution (How will you cut the tenure of government officials elected with the mandate of the Constitution)?” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who earlier criticized Cayetano’s term extension proposal, brushed aside his former colleague’s threat.

He also maintained that senators will not easily be swayed on the proposed revision of the 1987 Constitution.

“It is too long a way for him to make good his threat, and issuing that threat won’t help to convince the senators to even consider Charter change,” Lacson said in another text message.

Meanwhile, Senator Imee Marcos said the proposed term extension for congressmen should be considered.

The former Ilocos Norte representative agreed with Cayetano that three years is too short for congressmen.

“If you’re new, you would have a difficult time especially in Congress. It is not easy to understand the [national] budget, it is highly-technical…but you have to study it. More or less you have one year to adjust in your new post, then on the second year, you already have an idea, and on the third year elections are upcoming so you will be busy campaigning. That’s why congressmen only have one year to do their jobs well,” Marcos said in Filipino during a radio interview.

“Four years is okay, that’s quite okay…Because three years is too short,” she added.