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Colmenares: Removing VP in line of succession a flimsy and absurd idea

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares has rejected the “flimsy and absurd” reason of Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso for setting aside Vice President Leni Robredo in the line of succession under the House-backed federal Charter.

Colmenares said Veloso’s proposal favoring the Senate President over the Vice President as constittutional successor during the transitory period “practically negates the will of the voters.”

“Vice Presidents, Senate Presidents and even Speakers of the House have been subject to election protests in previous occasions but this did not take them out of the constitutional line of succession,” said Colmenares.

Veloso, chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, earlier said making Robredo the constitutional successor during the transition to federal government would lead to confusion amid the pending election protest of former Senator Bongbong Marcos at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

“The fact that Leni Robredo’s position is under protest is not a justifiable reason to take her out of the line of succession. Leni Robredo is officially the incumbent vice president notwithstanding the election protest of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. If the proposed constitution is ratified and VP Robredo subsequently wins the election protest she can no longer be the constitutional successor of Pres. Duterte,” said Colmenares.

The former party-list solon stressed that the House-backed federal Charter was nothing more than a form “power grab” by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to propel herself back to Malacañang.

Colmenares said with Robredo no longer in equation, Arroyo was just two steps away from returning to the presidency if the proposed Charter she has sponsored under Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 will be approved.

Article XVII, Section 4 of the Arroyo-sponsored Charter states in case of the President’s death, removal from office, or unable to perform his/her duty during the transitory period, the incumbent Senate President takes over as chief executive instead of the seating Vice President.

“So among the real reasons for the Cha-cha is to take Robredo out of succession to give Gloria Arroyo a shot at becoming president once more should Pres. Duterte suffer incapacity or dies. Buhay pa ang presidente pinag-iinteresan na puwesto niya,” said Colmenares.