Cayetano favors longer term for lawmakers, local execs
He is aiming to change the present term of three years through Charter change (Cha-cha), which the President has said the 18th Congress should work on during his last three years in office.
Joey Mendoza
Cayetano favors longer term for lawmakers, local execs
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, whom President Duterte has endorsed to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives, is in favor of a longer term of office for congressmen and local officials.

He is aiming to change the present term of three years through Charter change (Cha-cha), which the President has said the 18th Congress should work on during his last three years in office.

Under a term-sharing arrangement Duterte has brokered, Cayetano and his PDP-Laban rival, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, would split the speaker’s term of three years.

The Taguig lawmaker would serve for 15 months, with his colleague from Marinduque to succeed him as speaker for the remaining 21 months.

In a radio interview on Tuesday night, Cayetano said he considered the three-year tenure of House members, including the speaker, and local officials too short.

He said there is probably too much politicking among these public servants because of the short period they stay in office. He proposed that three years be extended to “four years or five years.”

He did not say if he was also in favor of lifting the term limits for these officials, who are restricted under the Constitution to consecutive three terms or a total of nine years.

Cayetano also did not say what would be the term of office of the president, vice president and senators who, under the Constitution, have six years in office.

The president is barred from reelection, while the vice president is not. Senators are limited to two consecutive terms, or a total of 12 years.

He also did not say if he would finish Cha-cha within his agreed 15-month tenure as speaker.

The House of Representatives in the last Congress, under the speakership of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, approved its version of a revised Charter.

It was contained in Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, which the Senate sat on until the last Congress exited on June 30. Thus, its authors and other Cha-cha proponents would have to re-file their proposals with the current 18th Congress.

In the version of the House under Arroyo, senators, congressmen and local officials would have a term of four years. They could seek reelection for as long as they want and they could perpetually be in office as long as the people elect them.

The president and vice president would also have four years with one reelection. They would be elected together as a team, similar to the practice in the United States, to avoid a scenario where the two highest officials belong to different and sometimes warring political parties.

Since the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino, during whose watch the present 1987 Constitution was drafted and ratified by the people, no administration has succeeded in its Cha-cha effort.

Their initiatives were always stymied by a cynical public, which suspected that politicians would always be motivated by self-interest and would extend their stay in office. 

ALAN PETER CAYETANO
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