Drilon to block proposals for longer term for congressmen, shorter term for senators

Published July 25, 2019, 8:45 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Hannah Torregoza

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday vowed to oppose the passage of the assailed House Concurrent Resolution No. 1, which sought a longer term for congressmen and other local officials while shortening the term of senators, saying such move is a “shame to talk about” in the 18th Congress.

Sen. Franklin Drilon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Franklin Drilon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“It’s a shame to even talk about it when we just opened the 18th Congress,” Drilon said in a statement.

“Instead of diligently working on measures to uplift the lives of 25.2 percent of Filipinos living below the poverty line, you are talking about staying in power,” Drilon further said.

Besides, such proposal would require an amendment to the Constitution. “The proposal would require an amendment to the Constitution either through a constitutional convention or a constitutional assembly. A mere resolution cannot amend the Constitution,” Drilon said.

Drilon pointed out Section 1 of Article XVII of the Constitution states that: “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or constitutional convention.”

Any amendment of the Constitution during the remaining years of the Duterte administration, the minority leader said “has zero chance of passing,” particularly with the President recognizing that Charter change won’t happen during his time.

Drilon earlier noted that President Rodrigo Duterte did not mention federalism during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

This, he said, is a strong indication that Charter change is not a priority of the Duterte administration anymore.

Still, Drilon said the minority bloc would oppose any attempt to change or amend the Constitution.

“We will oppose it. Instead of wasting the very limited time of Congress on Cha-cha, let us focus on the pressing problems like lack of jobs, hunger and poverty, which we can address through ordinary legislation,” Drilon said.

Senators earlier questioned Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez’s filing of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) No. 1.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III wondered why the bill is training the gun on senators, noting that the measure also falls under constitutional amendments.

“At the rate some people are focusing on the Senate, the more the senators will stone wall. That’s my fearless forecast. Compare the ratings of the House of Representatives and the Senate then tell me if we need changing,” Sotto had said last Wednesday.

The bill proposes to extend the current three years term of congressmen and local officials to four years and reduce the six-year term of senators to only four years.