Robredo camp hits alleged plan to abolish VP post under federalism

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo hit the alleged plan to abolish the Office of the Vice President under the administration’s proposed federal form of government.

In a statement, Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s legal adviser, said the only time the country did not have a vice president was during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

He then questioned if such proposals is meant to push a supposed hidden agenada.

“The Office of the Vice President has been a feature of our republic for over 80 years, ever since it was created under the 1935 Constitution. The only time since then that we have had no VP was during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos,” Gutierrez said.

“That said, the current proposals to revise the Constitution are supposedly anchored on a drive to promote and institute a federal system of government. The question therefore is, how does abolishing the OVP relate to the establishment of Federalism? Or is the abolition already in service of some other, unstated, agenda?” he added.

Gutierrez was reacting to the statement of former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, who said that the current Cha-cha proposal may abolish the OVP and allow President Rodrigo Duterte’s reelection in 2022.

“Under the PDP-Laban Constitution, the office of the Vice President will be abolished by 2019 if they succeed in having the new constitution ratified during the 2019 elections,” Colmenares said in a statement.

“While PDP Laban may argue that they will not apply this to VP Robredo, this is not expressed in PDP Laban Constitution since they have refused to divulge their transitory provision,” he added.

Colmenares also said that Robredo would be a lame duck vice president under the current proposal.

Citing Section 7, Article VII of the PDP Laban-backed constitution, Colmenares said it is the “Senate President and if incapacitated, the Speaker who shall succeed Pres. Duterte in case of death, or removal from office.”

“The Vice-President is not mentioned at all in the line of succession because, upon ratification of the new Constitution, her office no longer exists,” said the former solon.

Duterte allies have also proposed the cancellation of the midterm elections in 2019, seeking to allow incumbent officials to continue in a holdover capacity. Opposition lawmakers have strongly condemned such moves. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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