CHARTER CHANGE

CHA-CHA TO ABOLISH PARTY-LIST GROUPS

Duterte wants the party-list system abolished to address the country’s problem with insurgents

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said President Rodrigo Duterte does not buy the idea of Congress amending the Constitution to postpone the 2022 elections to extend his term.

Duterte only wanted the party-list system amended to address the country’s problem with insurgents, said Sotto in an online press conference.

Sotto made the comment as two senators filed a resolution asking the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene the 18th Congress as a constituent assembly to introduce limited amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

“Reforms are needed to be introduced to the 33-year-old Constitution in order to aid the country in achieving economic growth, especially during this time of rising global uncertainty, ” said Senators Ronald dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino in Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2.

Dela Rosa and Tolentino said the changes they sought are only limited to the economic and democratic representation provisions of the Constitution.

Some sectors, including critics of the Duterte administration, however, say the amendments could include the extension of the terms of incumbent officials or for the postponement of the 2022 general elections.

Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte does not seek to remain in power beyond his term and that notions about extending it are but “rumors.”

The President, according to Sotto, believes that the amendment or abolition of the party-list system in the Constitution would address the problem on insurgency.

Sotto said Duterte bared his sentiments against the party-list groups and for abolition of the party-list system, during a meeting in Malacañang two months ago with some lawmakers and ranking members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The AFP claims that some party-list groups particularly those under the umbrella of the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives are legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army/National Demofratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) communist triumvirate.

“He was very hot on the CPP-NPA issue. For him, some members of the House of Representatives, particularly the Makabayan bloc, were sympathizers or connected with the CPP-NPA,” Sotto said.

The intention of Duterte was never to extend term limits, Sotto said.

‘I want this problem of the CPP-NPA solved and the best way is we remove the party-list system or change it in the Constitution’,” Sotto said quoting Duterte.

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