Postponing 2019 polls will help Congress finish federalism bill – Speaker Alvarez

Postponing 2019 polls will help Congress finish federalism bill – Speaker Alvarez

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez believes that postponing the 2019 midterm elections will help the lawmakers to focus more on tackling the proposed constitutional amendment.

Alvarez said the Lower House is facing a tight schedule in the coming weeks because they will have to deliberate on the 2019 Proposed National Budget along with the proposed shift to the federal government.

He also noted that the congressmen will be busy campaigning for the upcoming polls once they file their certificates of candidacy (COC) in October.

“Papaano tayo magka- quorum ditto? Anong mangyayari? Siempre magkakampanya na ang mga congs. Election iyan. (Dapat hindi na mageleksyon muna?) Kung gugustuhin talaga na matapos ito kasi kailangan mo ng focus diyan,” argued Alvarez.

But Senator Francis Pangilinan disagreed with the House Speaker insisting that the people’s right to suffrage should not be compromised.

Meanwhile, Alvarez stressed that they will continue working on the proposed federalism even without the Senate.

This is because the Senate’s version of the bill is still pending in the committee level.

“Wala naman sinasabi na magcoconvene kami into constituent assembly. Three-fourth vote of all its members. Congress may propose. Hindi ito iyong parang batas na inaaprubahan mo. Proposal lang ito for the people to agree,” he added.

Earlier today, the members of the consultative committee tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 constitution submitted a copy of their proposed federal charter to the house leaders.

However, solons are yet to tackle the content of the proposal.

House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas also clarified that only Congress has the power to propose amendments in the Constitution.

“Alam naman nila na ang kanila is just recommendatory. They are only advisory and I hope that we can make that very clear to the public,” Fariñas concluded. – Grace Casin

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