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Pa-survey ka muna! Panelo refuses to touch Cayetano’s unli term proposal for congs

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Malacañang distanced itself from making comments on Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposal to push for longer term limits for lawmakers, stressing that public sentiment matters more.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he would not preempt the wisdom of the lawmakers on Cayetano’s proposed measure.

“Well, the decision would always lie of the members of Congress, because they are the ones passing the bill,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Thursday.

But when asked if the Palace will favor a term extension for lawmakers, Panelo described his opinion as “irrelevant” unlike the public sentiment.

“I think they should conduct a survey on the sentiments of the people, whether or not they agree on that proposal. And I’m sure since that has been floated, there will be opinions being expressed by many sectors,” he said.

Cayetano proposed to extend the terms of members of the House of Representatives to either four years with no term limits or five years with term limits.

He explained that a term extension would make lawmakers more productive and give them more time to focus on crafting bills.

At present, members of the House can serve for three consecutive three-year terms.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier endorsed Cayetano’s bid for House speakership, in a term-sharing arrangement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

Emergency powers

Panelo, meanwhile, welcomed the move of Senator Francis Tolentino, an ally of the President, to file a bill granting the government emergency powers to address the country’s transport problems, including traffic.

“Well, hindi ba (didn’t) the President wanted that at the very inception of his presidency, but Congress did not. Di ba sabi niya, kung ayaw ninyo, di ‘huwag (If you don’t want to, then don’t),” Panelo said.

Asked if the President would certify the bill as urgent, Panelo said he had no clue but noted that its passage would definitely solve a number of the country’s transport problems.

“Well, we hope that it would pass, but then again, that is left to the wisdom of the members of Congress,” he added.

Panelo also said the President never appealed to Tolentino to refile the measure, emphasizing that the senator has expressed his desire to do so even when he was still part of Duterte’s Cabinet.

Tolentino was Duterte’s former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs and former chairman of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III.

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