Charter change to double Senate seats, lift term limits proposed 

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Charter change to double Senate seats, lift term limits proposed 
Inside the building of the Senate of the Philippines
The STAR / File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Robin Padilla has revived the Cha-cha train in the Senate, this time pushing for political changes that would more than double the number of members in the upper chamber while lifting term limits for the president and vice president.

Filed on Wednesday, Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 5 seeks to increase the number of elected senators from 24 to 54 and allow the president and the vice president — who must run as joint candidates — to serve two terms. 

Padilla’s suggested political tweaks to the 1987 Constitution came after his earlier Cha-cha push — which focused on liberalizing its economic provisions — was shot down without any real pushback in the upper chamber this year. 

RELATED: Padilla admits economic Cha-cha push in Senate now dead  

Under RBH No. 5, more than half or 30 of the 55 senators would be "elected by qualified voters from each legislative region” while the 24 others would be elected on the national level.

The proposed change will allow senators elected at large to have terms of eight years instead of six, while senators elected by region shall have terms of four years but shall not serve for more than three consecutive terms.

RBH No. 5 also requires the president and the vice president to be elected through single-ticket voting or as a pair. They will both be given a shorter term of four years instead of six while allowing them to serve at least two terms, instead of the present six-year term without re-election.

Padilla cited the "need for policy continuity" and a lengthier amount of time for elected officials to "effect long-term, meaningful changes," among other reasons to justify RBH No. 5.

RBH No. 5 also stated that proposed amendments to the Charter should pass through a constitutional assembly, or by a vote of three-fourths of congressional members, with each chamber voting separately.

Besides Padilla, House Speaker Martin Romualdez has also hinted at a renewed push to change the Constitution in 2024 to allow the entry of more foreign capital and investments in the country. 

Romualdez said that House lawmakers would be studying possible changes to the Charter during the Christmas break, which will last until Jan. 21, 2024.

Charter framer and lawyer Christian Monsod earlier warned against legislative moves to lift the economic restrictions of the Constitution, stressing that those who designed the fundamental law had limited the extent to which other countries can affect the Philippine economy to allow Filipinos’ “national destiny… to safely rest on Filipinos themselves.”

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