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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Padilla bill eyes changes to constitutional terms

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Senator Robin Padilla has filed a resolution proposing changes to the constitutional terms of elected officials including the President, Vice President, and lawmakers, citing the need to ensure a balance between leadership stability and democratic continuity.

In filing Resolution of Both Houses of Congress No. 5, Padilla proposed amendments to Section 4 and 7 of Article VI (Legislative Department); Sec. 4 of Art. VII (Executive Department); and Sec. 8 of Art. X (Local Government) of the Constitution.

He proposed the following amendments:

* Sec. 2 of Art. VI: The Senate shall have 54 members. Of these, 24 are elected at large and 30 elected by qualified voters from each legislative region.

* Sec. 4 of Art. VI: Senators elected at large shall have terms of eight years, but shall not serve for more than two consecutive terms; senators elected by region shall have terms of four years, but shall not serve for more than three consecutive terms.

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* Sec. 7 of Art VI: Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of four years, and shall not serve more than three consecutive terms.

* Sec. 4 of Art. VII: The President and Vice President shall be elected as joint candidates by direct vote of the people for a term of four years. They shall not be elected for more than two terms. A President who served for two terms shall not be qualified to run for any elective position. Any person who has succeeded the President or Vice President shall only be qualified for one election to the same office at any time.

* Sec. 8 of Art. X: The term of office of elective local officials except barangay officials shall be four years. They shall serve no more than three consecutive terms.

“The change in the term of office of the President and Vice President will ensure a balance between leadership stability and democratic continuity,” he said.

“A joint candidacy for the President and Vice President provides for an electoral landscape that will shift its emphasis from individual personalities to the unified policy agenda and will foster a more strategic and effective governance,” Padilla explained.

He added the change in the term of office of the President and Vice President will ensure a balance between leadership stability and democratic continuity.

“It is imperative to strike a balance between the need for policy continuity, which requires adequate time for lawmakers to fulfill their legislative agenda, and the need to prevent the accumulation of power, which may lead to political entrenchment,” he said.

Padilla said it is important to provide for an allowable extension of service, thus providing elected officials “with a more substantial opportunity to effect long-term, meaningful changes in their respective offices.”

The senator cited the need to synchronize the electoral cycles of the different branches of government “to improve administrative efficiency, and enable a more coordinated implementation of government policies.”

Padilla noted that in 2022, the Philippines ranked 52nd of 167 countries in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index – with political culture, functioning of government and political participation being the most concerning issues.

He also cited historical data from the Asian Development Bank showing that in the past decade, political instability and frequent turnover of elected officials have been identified as major impediments to long-term planning and policy continuity.

RBH 5 also provides for transitory provisions, including:

* Incumbent and past Presidents are not qualified to run as president

* Incumbent senators on their last terms of office are not qualified for reelection in the next immediate election; incumbent members of the House on their third consecutive term of office prior to ratification shall not be eligible for reelection in the next immediate election.

* All local elective officials except barangay elective officials on their third term of office shall not be qualified to be elected for the same position in the immediate elections.

* The first elections of all officials under these amendments shall be synchronized which shall be held on the second Monday of May 2028.

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