Neri Colmenares

Says elimination of term limits and prohibition of political dynasties further tramples democratic rights to suffrage and accountability

Bayan Muna Chairman and former Congressman Neri Colmenares warned against the renewed efforts to amend the Constitution by creating a Task Force on Federalism will lead to more dynasties as well as cancellation of 2019 elections. He urged the people to oppose the Task Force and urge the rejection of Cha-cha and federalism.

“Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s rush to issue EO 62 creating a Task Force to gather support for Federalism is an effort between Duterte and Speaker Gloria Arroyo to derail the 2019 elections and grant all elective officials from senators to local councilors term extension to hold over until 2022. Article XVII Sec. 4 of RBH 15 provides that the ‘first election under the new Constitution shall be on the second Monday of May 2022’. The plan of Speaker Arroyo to have constituent assembly (Con Ass) approve Cha-cha by December and have it ratified by February or even March of 2019 means that the 2019 elections will be cancelled because the new Constitution sets the date for election in 2022” revealed Colmenares who was one of those who argued against the Sigaw ng Bayan Cha-cha of then Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

“Worse, this Cha-cha will expressly eliminate the constitutional prohibition against political dynasty. A look at RBH 15 shows that nowhere in the entire proposed Federal Constitution is there a provision calling or the abolition of political dynasty. That way, Pres. Duterte will no longer have to explain why his children are all running for political positions when he supposedly is opposed to dynasty. This Cha-cha is nothing more than a self-serving attempt by Pres. Duterte and Gloria Arroyo, to craft a self -serving, Constitution to suit their whims and vested interest,” he added.

“While we were commemorating UNDAS Cha-cha forces are moving swiftly to railroad Cha-cha before the 2019 elections. The only way Speaker Arroyo can maintain her chance at going back to Malacanang is the cancellation of elections so that she can remain Speaker until 2022, since her third term ends next year and she has nowhere to go. Lifting term limits is intended to entice support from all elective officials to ensure swift Cha-cha approval during the plebiscite in February 2019. Article VIII Sec. 4 of RBH 15 lifts term limits, which means Speaker Arroyo, who is already on her third and last term, can ran again in the 2019 elections and retain her speakership of the House. She can run again for President in 2022 under the new Constitution,” said the Makabayan senatorial candidate.

Colmenares, urged all those who filed their certificates of candidacy to challenge the incumbent politicians, to oppose the Task Force and this renewed Cha-cha attempt.

“Candidates who wish to challenge incumbent politicians especially those coming from political dynasties, should oppose this Cha-cha. Not only is their opportunity to run endangered by Cha-cha, but the lifting of term limits mean that the current incumbent officials can still run in 2022 and beyond.” ###

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