Con-Com eyes reelection for president, mandatory Cabinet post for VP
MANILA, Philippines – The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) on revising the constitution is considering a 4-year term for both the president and vice president with the possibility of reelection for a second term.
This was announced by Con-Com member and former justice Antonio Nachura on Thursday, April 12, during a press conference. Nachura heads the Con-Com's subcommittee on the structure of the federal government.
"The terms of office will be 4 years with a maximum of two consecutive terms for senators, congressmen, president, and vice president," said Nachura.
Members of his committee are "more or less agreed" on this already, but the matter will be put to a vote during the en banc session on Monday, April 16.
In the current Constitution, the president and vice president serve for 6 years with only the vice president allowed to seek reelection. Senators also serve for 6 years and may have two consecutive terms. Members of the House of Representatives have a term of 3 years and may serve for a maximum of 3 consecutive terms.
The proposed revision will move the Philippines closer to the United States model where presidents serve for 4 years and may be reelected.
However, this does not necessarily mean President Rodrigo Duterte will be allowed to seek reelection as the Con-Com has yet to vote on the transitory provisions of the proposed new charter.
Con-Com chairman Reynato Puno previously said reelection for Duterte is not possible since he will be bound by the 1987 Constitution under which he was elected, which bans his reelection.
A tentative consensus was also reached to make it mandatory for the president to appoint the vice president into his or her Cabinet and be given full Cabinet rank. This appointment cannot be questioned by the Commission on Appointments (CA) as it will not require confirmation.
Under the present charter, it's up to the president if he or she wants the vice president in the Cabinet.
Asked if the working relationship between Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo was the inspiration for this proposed provision, Nachura said, "Probably, partly, so that the situation today will not happen anymore."
Robredo, who had been appointed housing secretary by Duterte, resigned from his Cabinet after he asked her to stop attending Cabinet meetings. He had done so due to frustration over Robredo's critical public remarks.
Previously, the Con-Com was mulling requiring that the president and vice president be voted as a tandem. This means a vote for a presidential candidate is automatically a vote for his or her running mate.
Changes in Congress
A tentative agreement was also reached for senators to be voted regionally, instead of being voted on the national level, as it is today.
Two to 4 senators are to be voted per region, as in the US where each state is represented by two senators. The final number is dependent on the number of regions which the Con-Com has not yet finalized.
Meanwhile, 60% of the House of Representatives will be composed of representatives elected per congressional district while 40% will be chosen under a proportional representation system. This, said Nachura, would be "similar but not exactly like" the current party-list system.
Duterte has previously said he wants the party-list system abolished in the new constitution, claiming it is abused.
Nachura said there was a suggestion for some seats in the proportional representation to be reserved for representatives from 5 least-advantaged sectors – labor, peasants, fishermen, indigenous peoples, and urban poor. – Rappler.com