MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez urged lawmakers anew to support the shift to federalism as the 17th Congress opened its 3rd regular session on Monday, July 23.
But in the same breath, Alvarez pushed for the removal of term limits for officials should the Philippines shift to a federal system government. He said political dynasties exist because of the “unintended” effects of term limits.
“I have manifested, and made public, that I am amenable to an anti-political dynasty provision as proposed by the Consultative Committee draft. However, I have also made it clear, based on my personal studies and consultation with peers, that political dynasties proliferated because of the unintended effects of imposing term limits,” said Alvarez.
“Let’s push for the self-executory anti-political dynasty provision – para rin wala nang pipilitin sa pamilya tumakbo kahit ayaw naman talaga (so no one in the family would be forced to run if he or she does not want to) – but I propose that term limits be removed,” he added.
Alvarez, like President Rodrigo Duterte, is a longtime champion of federalism. They have argued federalism would decentralize power and wealth away from Imperial Manila and empower the rest of the regions.
Alvarez, who read a prepared speech despite a brewing plot to oust him, called the 1987 Constitution has hindered the country from progressing. (READ: Alvarez-Arroy showdown, lawmakers in pre-SONA talks)
“But, admittedly, there is still much work to be done as we start the Third Regular Session. And this involves dismantling one of the most extractive institutions that has robbed the rest of the Philippines – with the exception of a few cities – of its chance to fully realize its potential for growth and development,” he said.
Alvarez wants to speed up the shift to federalism, even floating no elections scenario in 2019 to this end.
The Speaker did not address the supposed ouster plot against him in his speech. Sources said lawmakers planned to unseat him during the session on Monday, an initiative reportedly led by no less than presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.