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Kulang sa oras! Gloria’s Cha-cha ‘dead on arrival’ when it reaches Senate

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By Xave Gregorio

The latest bid to amend the Constitution in the House, spearheaded by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, would be “dead on arrival” when it reaches the Senate.

Senate leaders balked at the newest move to amend the Constitution, as there would no longer be any time to deliberate and pass it before the 17th Congress adjourns in 2019.

“There is simply no time. Kaya pagdating dito wala na kaming panahon in order to look at it and that’s why I said ‘dead on arrival’ simply because we have no more time,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday (October 9).

This view was also shared by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

“The whole November and December, we’ll just be discussing and approving the budget. Then when we come back in January, that’s not enough time to discuss a very impotant measure such as amendments to the Charter. We only have one month before we start campaign on February,” Zubiri said.

The House is still deliberating on Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, authored by Arroyo and 21 other lawmakers two days before the last session day on Wednesday (October 10) before Congress goes on break this Friday (October 12) until November 11. No counterpart measure exists in the Senate.

The proposal would have to be passed before Congress’ sine die adjournment in June 2019, afterwards, the measure would have to be re-filed.

RBH No. 15 aims to amend the Constitution to shift to a federal form of government, but also contains some contentious provisions, including the lifting of term limits for lawmakers and skipping the vice president in the presidential succession for “stability.”

Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon said this proposal would not pass, while Drilon said this would cause instability.

“If they want to achieve stability, the stability is to follow the rule of succession; otherwise there will be instability, because the Senate President can be replaced anytime,” Drilon said.

Sotto, who stands to benefit from the proposal should the proposed charter passes and Duterte steps down, told reporters in a text message, “We don’t even know if I’m still Senate President by then.”