Robredo opposes 'no-el,' term extension
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, January 7, opposed the possibility of canceling the 2019 elections and extending the term of sitting officials in pursuit of federalism.
Robredo said such moves would undermine democracy and the Filipinos' right to vote.
"Itong no-elections, kontrang-kontra tayo doon kasi iyong eleksyon, parang ito iyong pinakabuod ng ating demokrasya. Ito lamang iyong natatanging paraan para iyong ordinaryong Pilipino makilahok sa isang proseso na siya iyong pipili kung sino iyong mamumuno sa kanya," the Vice President said in her weekly radio show.
(We are really against this no-elections proposal because holding elections is the highlight of our democracy. It is the only way for an ordinary Filipino to choose his or her leaders.)
"Kapag inalis natin sa ordinaryong Pilipino iyong karapatang pumili kung sino iyong magre-represent sa kanya, nasaan na iyong demokrasya doon?" she added.
(If we remove that right from an ordinary Filipino to choose who will represent him or her, where is democracy in that?)
The Vice President also opposed extending politicians' terms, calling it "self-serving."
"[K]ung makikinabang kami, parati nang may kuwestiyon kung ano iyong intensyon bakit magkakaroon ng term extension. Parang self-serving: 'Gusto naming palawigin iyong aming termino, kaya magpapasa kami ng isang panukala o isang batas para habaan pa iyong kontrata namin sa mga Pilipino'... Nasaan iyong katarungan doon?" she said.
(If we will benefit from that, there will always be questions on our intention to extend terms. It seems self-serving: "We want to extend our terms that is why we will pass a law to extend our contract with the Filipino people." Where is justice in that?)
She then called for a "more serious" discussion on proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution.
It was House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who floated the idea of a no-elections scenario in 2019. He said that after the constitutional amendments are ironed out and a plebiscite is held, one of the possible outcomes is the cancellation of the mid-term elections scheduled in May 2019.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, said the term of President Rodrigo Duterte may be extended "if necessary" and "if he is amenable to it" during the transition.
Opposition lawmakers slammed the move, with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon calling it an "immoral proposition." – Rappler.com