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Si Leni na uli! House restores VP as constitutional successor under Arroyo-sponsored Charter

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House plenary on Wednesday formally restored the position of the “Vice President” as the immediate successor of the President during the transitory period under the Arroyo-sponsored draft charter.

Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar filed a motion on the floor to amend Article XVII, Section 4 of the draft federal charter under Resolution of Both Houses No. 15.

In his manifestation, Del Mar moved that the “incumbent Vice President” instead of the seating Senate President “shall act as President until a president shall have been chosen and qualified” during the transitory period.

“This is a motion… to recommit Committee Report No. 881 submitted by the Committee on Constitutional Amendments on Resolution of Both House No. 15 in order to introduce perfecting amendments on the failure to include the Vice President in the first line of succession which led to some misunderstandings. There is a need to clarify this Madame Speaker,” said del Mar.

Under the existing draft, Article XVII, Section 4 states that: “In case a vacancy arises by reason of removal, resignation, permanent incapacity or death of the incumbent President, the incumbent Senate President shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified.”

House Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya (Camarines Sur) formally channeled Del Mar’s motion into a vote and no one present in the plenary objected to the proposal of the Cebu legislator.

“On the part of the majority… we submit an amendment to the committee as requested by the Hon. Raul del Mar… on Article 17—Transitory provisions. On line 25: Replace the word ‘Senate’ by the word ‘Vice,’” said Andaya.

Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was present during the voting.

Arroyo, primary author of the RBH 15 drew flak especially from members of the opposition after the seating vice president, a post currently held by Vice President Leni Robredo was set aside in line of succession under the proposed charter.

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments stressed that making Robredo the constitutional successor during the transitory period will lead to confusion because of the pending election protest of former Sen. Bong-Bong Marcos at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares described Veloso’s proposal both “flimsy and absurd” as it “practically negates the will of the voters.”