CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. proposed a Constitutional amendment on the term limits of elective officials in the country from the president down to the local level.
Gonzales filed House Resolution 7, seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution, particularly on the term limits of every elective positions in the country, except those of the senators and the barangay officials.
Under the Constitution, the Philippine president is only allowed a six-year term without reelection, the vice president, a maximum of two consecutive six-year terms while district representatives, partylist congressmen and local officials, three successive three-year terms.
Under RBH7, Gonzales said that six years without the possibility of a reelection is insufficient for the country’s president to implement long-term programs and policies.
“We are now on our road to recovery having a P12 trillion national debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We need a long-term solution,” the Pampanga solon said.
A three-year term for congressmen, Gonzales added, is likewise “very, very short” based on past experiences.
Members of the House, especially neophytes, tend to take a feel and conduct thorough studies of their legislative agenda prior to filing, only to pass through the usually long and tedious deliberation before becoming laws, he explained.
Congressmen had to juggle their time enacting laws, which is their primary obligation, with other duties on congressional oversight functions, impeachment proceedings, review of executive acts, and emergency response to calamities.
In the third year of their term, congressmen, just like the other officials bound by the three-year term, are already losing time because “almost half of the year is devoted on their reelections.”
Gonzales said having been set 34 years ago, the terms of office of elected officials need to be modified.
In the proposal, the term of office of the president will be shortened to five years but granted a bid to reelect to another five years, after which he or she may no longer run for any elective position.
The vice president’s term will also be reduced to five years and can be reelected for five more years–at a maximum of two consecutive terms.
The votes garnered by the president in an election will also be the votes counted for the vice-presidential candidate, provided that they are of the same political party.
“This is to encourage a strong political party system,” Gonzales pointed out.
Like congressmen, local executives and legislative members will be given five-year terms but will be limited to two successive terms only.
The congressman proposed the changes to be initiated through a Constituent Assembly, needing the votes of at least three-fourths of all the members of the combined houses of Congress, or by constitutional convention.
Congressmen and local officials who are on their last and final term can no longer run for the same position in the immediate election after the ratification of the proposed amendments.