VP-elect Leni could be left out in a parliamentary gov’t

  • Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said there is no VP in a parliamentary form of government
  • This means VP-elect Leni Robredo could be left without a position if the shift happens
  • However, Alvarez said it would still depend on the agreement on how the change will be done

MANILA, Philippines – A shift to a parliamentary form of government could leave Vice President-elect Leni Robredo holding an empty bag despite being proclaimed by Congress to the second highest position in the land; this was according to incoming Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez.

Alvarez, the representative-elect of Davao del Norte, is incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s personal choice to succeed Feliciano Belmonte to lead the Lower House in the 17th Congress. He made the statement amid Duterte’s plan to change the current form of government from unitary to federal.

“In a parliamentary set-up, walang (there is no) VP,” ABS-CBN News’ Joel Guinto has quoted Alvarez as telling reporters on Tuesday, June 7.

“Depende ‘yan kung anong mapagkasunduan, if it’s a Con-con  or Con-ass, kung ano mapagkasunduan dun,” Alvarez said.

[It depends on the agreement, if it’s going to be through Con-con or Con-ass, whatever is going to be agreed upon.]

Con-con refers to “Constitutional Convention”; an option provided in the 1987 Constitution through which a charter change can be done where elected delegates will craft amendments.

Con-ass refers to “Constitutional Assembly”; another option where members of the both chambers of Congress convene to propose constitutional amendments. Three-fourths of the votes of the combined lawmakers are required before any amendments can pass.

Shift to federalism

Duterte has been very vocal about his advocacy for a federal form of government in an attempt to devolve powers and resources from the capital Manila, the current seat of power, to local governments across the nation.

He also did not hide his intention not to give Robredo, who came from the rival camp Liberal Party (LP), a position in his incoming Cabinet.

Robredo, on the other hand, said she doesn’t mind if she won’t get any Cabinet post in the Duterte administration; saying she respects the prerogative of the president to choose the people who will make up his official family.

“Whether with a position or not, I will strive to keep the promises I made to our people to the best of my ability,” the Bicolana lawmaker said.

There has been several attempts since the past administrations of Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to change the 1987 Constitution and the government from its current form.

All of them, however, proved to be unsuccessful.