House to put Robredo back in line of succession of draft constitution

Mara Cepeda
House to put Robredo back in line of succession of draft constitution
The House agrees to return the draft constitution to the constitutional amendments panel, which will make the necessary changes in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives will put Vice President Leni Robredo back into the line of succession during the shift to federalism under the lower chamber’s draft constitution. 

Lawmakers unanimously accepted Wedneday, October 10, the motion of Cebu City 1st District Representative Raul del Mar to bring Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 15 back to the House committee on constitutional amendments. 

The panel can now amend Section 4, Article XVII on the Transitory Provisions, which puts the Senate President, not the Vice President, as next in line should President Rodrigo Duterte be unable to perform his duties during the shift to federalism. 

“This is a motion to recommit Committee Report No. 81 submitted by the committee on constitutional amendments on the Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 in order to introduce perfecting amendments on the failure to include the Vice President in the first line of succession, which led to some misunderstandings. So there’s a need to clarify this,” said Del Mar, who is with the Liberal Party like Robredo. 

The motion was approved by the plenary without any objections. 

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya then said that the majoriy bloc will submit an amendment to Section 4 “at the proper time” to replace the words “Senate” with “Vice.”  

The 17th Congress is holding its last session day on Wednesday before it goes on a one-month break. It will resume session on November 12.

If amended, Section 4 would now read as follows: “In case a vacancy arises by reason of removal, resignation, permanent incapacity or death of the incumbent President, the incumbent Vice President shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified.”

Before Del Mar’s motion and Andaya’s manifestation, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was busy going around the floor and talking to key leaders of the House.

House constitutional amendments panel chairperson Vicente Veloso previously defended Section 4, arguing that removing the Vice President in the line of succession aims to avoid “instability” that may be caused by the ongoing electoral protest filed against Robredo by ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Robredo herself said Section 4 indicates her critics are “too desperate” to kick her out of power.

Veloso said the House is targeting to pass RBH 15 on 3rd and final reading by February or March 2019. But senators already rejected RBH 15, saying it will be “dead on arrival” at the Senate. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.