Velasco pushes for Cha-cha, eyes longer term for solons

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday said he favored the proposed Charter change, particularly a review on the political provision imposing a three-year term limit for congressmen.

But he said "Cha-cha" would not be a priority of his leadership unless the President said otherwise; as there's "no more time" to pursue it because the government was focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"To be really honest, I would want to push for charter change but I think there is really no more time, especially as we're focusing all our efforts (on) COVID," he said in an online interview.

At the same time, Velasco said he preferred to stay in the background and would quietly do his job because he had no plans to run for a national position, unlike other officials he said, in reply to reporters' questions on what made him different from his predecessor, ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Velasco said that aside from being the youngest Speaker in recent history, at only 42, he also had no "national ambitions."

"In my case, I don't have any national ambitions. That's the reason why I always remain in the background," Velasco said in the same interview.

He said he saw the need to review the Charter especially on term limits for public officials. For instance, the three-year term for congressmen was "very short."

"At the end of the day I really feel that we have to review, amend our charter. For instance, when it comes to our public officials, when we talk about term changes, to be honest, we really need it," said Velasco.

But he said should President Rodrigo Duterte ask Congress to begin a review of the 1987 Constitution, Velasco said Congress would abide by the wishes of Duterte whose campaign promises included a shift of the Philippine government to a federal form.

"I will talk to our dear President, if he says it needs to be done we will do it. But for me personally, I feel we need to focus on our COVID-19 response," Velasco said.

Velasco on Monday ordered the cancellation of all committee hearings at the House to review and prioritize the legislative agenda of Duterte.

Despite the possibility of his being invited to run in the administration senatorial slate in the 2022 elections, Velasco said: "That's not in my plans really."

“Campaigning for a national post really (can be) exhausting,” he said, recalling the time he joined the campaign of the senatorial candidates of Hugpong Pagbabago.

Velasco said he still had a lot to accomplish for his home province of Marinduque. "I want to serve but I still have a lot to do for my province. So I have to finish my work in the province first," he added.

Topics: COVID-19 , Lord Allan Velasco , Charter change , Rodrigo Duterte , 1987 Constitution
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