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Taguig lawmaker stirs furor over term limit

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate on Sunday hit Taguig City-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano for proposing to extend the term limit of elected local officials to four years.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Zarate said Cayetano’s plan is self-serving.

“With due respect, such [a]... proposal is self-serving,” he said. “If the official is inefficient and corrupt, a year is too much for him to stay. He should be removed and be replaced.”

Cayetano wants the Constitution amended to term for local elected officials to four years with no term limits, or five years with a three-term limit.

Zarate, who vowed to block the amendment of the Constitution, was aimed at making Charter change more “palatable” to lawmakers.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, slammed Cayetano for seeking to half the term of office of senators to just three years.

“It takes two to tango,” Pimentel said.

Under the Constitution, a senator has a six-year term of office, and may seek re-election at the end of that term. This means a senator who is re-elected can have 12 consecutive years in the Senate.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said it was too early for Cayetano to make good on his threat, adding that this would do nothing to convince senators on the need for Charter change.

Cayetano earlier made the threat to cut the term of senators from six years to just three during a meeting with a composite group of congressmen, mostly from the ruling PDP-Laban, following criticisms by some senators against his “term extension” proposal.

Cayetano, who was recently endorsed as the next speaker of the House by President Rodrigo Duterte, floated the idea of making the terms of congressmen longer, saying this was more “practical” and “productive” for the country.

But Lacson said Cayetano’s proposal to extend the term of congressmen is “starting on the wrong foot or delivering the wrong message.”

He said this was “another way of saying goodbye” to Charter change under the 18th Congress.

Amid talk that a coup could be staged in the House, the leader of the 54-member Party-list Coalition said they would follow President Duterte’s endorsement and vote for Cayetano as the next speaker.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Romero shrugged off talk of a coup, which had been fueled by statements by the President’s son, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte.

“We have been hearing rumors. But at this state, we will (only) listen to the President, unless the President (would say something else),” he said.

READ: Congress told: Ask the people about term-extension proposal

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Topics: Carlos Zarate , Alan Peter Cayetano , Charter change , Rodrigo Duterte , Panfilo Lacson , Paolo Duterte
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