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Totohanan na! Abu makes first step to ‘no-el’ 2019

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The leadership of the House of Representatives is bent on postponing the 2019 elections— and prolonging their terms— despite the opposition of several senators to it.

Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu recently filed a bill making people’s initiative a mode for Charter change (Cha-Cha).

House Bill 5724 seeks to strengthen Republic Act 6735, which allows voters to directly propose amendments to the Constitution or enact, repeal or revise a law.

Abu said his measure seeks to be “an enabling law” for the people’s right to directly propose amendments to the Constitution.

At present, the House leader noted that the law only allows people to change laws.

Under the bill, the Commission on Elections is required to set a date for referendum within 30 days after receiving a petition and determining its sufficiency.

The date for referendum shall not be earlier than 60 days but not later than 90 days from the time the Comelec deems the petition as sufficient.

A petition for amendment or enactment, repeal or change in the law shall be approved by a majority of votes cast, and shall take effect 15 days after its publication in a national newspaper.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has been pushing for the postponement of the 2019 elections to fast-track the shift to federalism.

He said Congress will have no time to tackle the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution if the midterm poll pushes through since the filing of the certificates of candidacies will be in October this year.

Several senators, however, have said that potsponing the elections is a violation of the Constitution since local elective officials have a fixed term of three years.