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Term extensions, no polls for 10 years eyed under Cha-cha for federalism, Kiko claims


Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday claimed of hearing rumors about a 10-year transition period being eyed under the planned Charter change (Cha-cha).

In a statement, Pangilinan said terms of all senators and congressmen, as well as President Rodrigo Duterte, will be extended as no elections will be held during the transition period to a federal government.

“Heto ang iilan sa mga bulong-bulungan sa Kongreso ng mga posibleng amendments tungkol sa minumungkahing Charter change: May 10 taon na transition period sa federalism na wala munang eleksyon at itutulak ang term extension para sa mga nakaupo,” Pangilinan said.

“Hindi lang si PRRD (President Duterte) ang may term extension, lahat ng kongresista at mga senador term extension din kaya wala ng eleksyon, wala ng gastos ang mga pulitiko, wala ng bababa sa puwesto,” Pangilinan added.

Pangilinan said that all local officials will be appointed if no elections will be held.

On Wednesday, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Duterte’s six-year term may be extended “if really necessary” and “if he is amenable to it” during the transition to a federal form of government.

Malacañang has said that Duterte “does not want” to extend his presidential term. According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Duterte would rather cut “short his term than lengthen it.”

Pangilinan, meanwhile, further claims that Cha-cha will give Duterte legislative powers during the transition period. He said this will be similar to the Amendment No. 6 of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

“Tatanggalin na ang restrictions sa exploitation ng dayuhan ng natural resources natin para wala ng hadlang na pumasok ang China at buhusan ng bilyon na pautang at pagnegosyo sa ating mga lupain at karagatan,” Pangilinan added.

“Heto ba ay ZTE-NBN, Northrail scandals part 2?” he said, referring to controversial projects during the Arroyo administration.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said convening Congress into a constituent assembly (ConAss) that will amend the 1987 Constitution will be the top priority of the House of Representatives in 2018.

If  Congress decides to convene a ConAss this January, Alvarez said the proposed new federal charter could be ready for a referendum simultaneous with the scheduled barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in May. — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/RSJ, GMA News

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