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Lifting term limits for lawmakers in draft Charter a collegial decision, Arroyo says

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday distanced herself from the proposed lifting of term limits for members of Congress under the draft federal Constitution proposed by a House panel.

In an interview with reporters, Arroyo said the choice of the House committee on constitutional amendments to include the Commonwealth-era imperative that provides no term limits for legislators was “a collegial decision.”

Arroyo said her only contribution to the approved committee report was the proposed provisionon the mechanism establishing federal states.

“All the other provisions were already submitted by the Constitutional Commission and everyone else,” said Arroyo.

The draft federal Charter proposed by Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 will give members of the Senate and the House of Representatives an unlimited term of office as long as voters keep re-electing them. Each term will last for four years.

The system is similar to the one indicated in the previous 1935 Philippine Constitution.

Under the House draft, both aspirants for the two chambers of Congress should be at least a degree holder, with the exemption of previous holders of the posts as well as those nominated by winning partylist organizations.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of 300 members, wherein, 80 percent of it will come from legislative districts while the remaining 20 percent will be allotted for the party-list representatives.

The current 24-man set-up of the Senate will remain as well, and will be elected in national polls.