The Arroyo-led proposal, which is different from the draft constitution submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Committee, removes the vice president from the line of succession in the transition government.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Senators reject Arroyo’s draft constitution
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - October 9, 2018 - 3:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — The draft federal charter of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not thrive as time is running out under the 17th Congress, senators said Tuesday.

The Arroyo-led proposal, which is different from the draft constitution submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Committee, removes the vice president from the line of succession in the transition government.

It also aims to keep a presidential form of government while empowering Congress to create federal states and keep a Senate where members are elected at large, instead of by region.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said there is simply no time to tackle charter change.

“We don’t have time to even talk about it. We don’t even know if I’m still Senate president by then,” Sotto said.

The Senate is scheduled to go on break from October 13 to November 11 and again from December 15 to January 13 in 2019. Congress still has to deliberate on and approve the General Appropriations Bill for 2019.

Drilon reiterated that the House draft federal charter will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

“We are still awaiting the report of the committee whether or not the recommendation is to amend the Constitution and if it is through a constitutional assembly, before we consider the substance of the proposal. There is simply no time. Kaya pagdating dito wala na kaming panahon in order to look at it,” he said.

Instead of discussing charter change, the Congress should instead focus on the problems of soaring inflation, lack of jobs and rising criminality, the Senate minority leader said.

Minority senators hit exclusion of VP in line of succession

Drilon and Sen. Risa Hontiveros also thumbed the provision, which excludes Vice President Leni Robredo in the presidential line of succession. It, instead, puts Sotto as next in line should President Rodrigo Duterte be unable to lead the transition government.

“If they want stability, then the more that we should follow the well-defined succession to the Office of the President in charge in case the president is unable to lead the transition government,” Drilon said.

Hontiveros called the draft charter of the House “not only absurd and unjustifiable, it is also colossal, shameless affront to long-established, recognized and practiced democratic processes.”

The opposition lawmaker said she is confident that the majority of senators, including Sotto, will not support the move.

“[I am confident that the majority of my fellow senators] will see it for what it is: an attempt not just to coopt, but to weaponize, the Senate in aid of their agenda. It must not see the light of day in the Senate,” she said.

FRANKLIN DRILON GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO TITO SOTTO
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