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No election scenario in 2019 possible under Arroyo-backed Charter, Suarez says

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The 2019 midterm elections could be postponed under the draft federal Constitution being sponsored by Speaker Gloria Arroyo, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said on Wednesday.

In a press conference, Suarez said if the House leadership decides to fast-track the proposed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) under Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 before February of next year, it was highly possible that the May 13, 2019 polls will be postponed or re-schedule to give way for the plebiscite.

“To fast-track the charter change and instead of an election of candidates, it will be plebiscite—that’s doable. That’s possible pero difficult,” said Suarez.

But Suarez also suggested that the plebiscite could also be simultaneous with the election next year.

“Possible diyan, on the ballot of 2019 after you elect the candidates, the should be question, are you in favor of changing the 1987 Consitution,” he said.

Suarez said majority of the members of the 43-man minority bloc were supporting the approval of the proposed charter except for Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza, a staunch critic of Charter change.

Meanwhile, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. clarified that postponing next year’s mid-term elections to pave way for the plebiscite could not be considered as a “no-election” (No-El) scenario for 2019 but rather just a mere postponement which can be re-scheduled anytime.

“Postponement of elections and no-el are two different things,” said Teves.

Teves, a member of the constitutional amendments panel in the House,

stressed that an election postponement for 2019 due to Cha-Cha was “an offshoot” of the present situation to pave way for a smooth transition during the transitory period.