Government told: Focus on prevailing national woes instead of term extensions

July 4, 2022 - 6:50 PM
Congressmen convening inside the House of the Representatives. (The STAR/File photo)

A lawmaker last Friday filed a resolution for charter change to extend the president’s term shortly after the new administration was sworn in.

Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. (Pampanga, 3rd District) filed the resolution to amend the Constitution to allow the Philippine president to have two five-year terms instead of six years.

The president and vice president shall only be elected once for a term of six years as enshrined in section 4 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.

“The President shall not be eligible for any re-election. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time,” the provision reads. 

“No Vice-President shall serve for more than two successive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected,” it added.

Under Gonzales’ resolution, the following changes were proposed:

  • The president and the vice president shall be in office for five years
  • To allow re-election for both positions, thereby allowing a maximum of a ten-year term

In an interview with ANC, which episode was reported online on July 4, Gonzales clarified that this resolution does not cover the current administration.

“Kasi kung maapprove to this 19th Congress so mag iistart po to sa 2025 di ba? So sa 2025 nasa mid-term na po ang ating pangulo at ang ating vice president. Sa palagay ko hindi na po sila pedeng tumakbo rito,” he said.

The Pampanga solon further pointed out that officials who are currently serving their last terms are also not covered.

“Yung mga last term po, hindi na sila pede tumakbo. In my case, I am in my last term. I cannot run if this proposal has been fully approved,” Gonzales said.

Should this be signed into law, the bill shall benefit future leaders of the country.

“Swerte po yung mga second term, meron silang natitirang isang term so they can still run in the position. Pero kung maaapprove po to, ang termino po nila is five years na. So that is their last term,” Gonzales said.

Criticisms vs misplaced priorities

Several users denounced this move. They hoped the new administration will focus on looking after the Filipino people’s welfare first.

“Sana po yung system of government yung inaayos hindi yung term limits ano po,” one Twitter user said.

“Ang daming problema ng bansa! Kung ano-anong personal na interest ang inaatupag niyo,” a Facebook user said.

Others also listed the prevailing national concerns that the government should prioritize before the talks on term limits.

This includes the still raging COVID-19 pandemic, the rising costs of fuel and basic commodities as well as the transport crisis.

“Sana yung problema muna ng mataas na presyo ng gas at bilihin ang unahin, yung problema sa pandemic. Napaghahalata naman masyado,” one user said.

“There’s a transport and economic crisis underway and this is what they do on Day 1. This country is doomed,” another user tweeted.

“Unahin mo muna anti-political dynasty bill baka sakaling umubra yan at isama pa ang amendment sa COMELEC (Commission on Election) rules,” another user commented.

In his resolution, Gonzales said that the current six-year term is not enough for the president to solve these national concerns.

He is also pushing for a longer-term in office for congressmen and local government officials.