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House to restore VP in line of succession in draft charter

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congress House of Representative
PHILSTAR

By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

THE HOUSE of Representatives on Wednesday recommitted the resolution, carrying its version of a draft Federal Constitution, to re-include the Vice-President in the presidential line of succession, a move backed by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Representative Raul V. del Mar of the 1st district of Cebu moved to recommit the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 15, which provided that in transitioning to a federal system, the Senate President shall succeed the President in the event of a vacancy.

Mr. del Mar on Thursday disclosed he made the motion as he had discussed with the Speaker. “I was in the Office of the Speaker to discuss CA (Commission on Appointments) matters… after we have already finished that, the issue came up. And so, both of us shared the sentiment that it needs to be corrected,” Mr. del Mar told reporters in a press briefing.

“I will introduce the amendment in that provision to put back the vice-president as the first line successor. Now, she not only readily agreed. She said, we can’t wait!”

Mr. del Mar also said, “There was no power grab, much less any participation of the Speaker. In fact, her participation was after the error was brought to floor, it was a power correction instead of a power grab.”

Leyte 3rd District Representative Vicente S.E. Veloso, chairperson of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, had earlier explained the omission of the vice-president was made in the light of the ongoing electoral contest between Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo and former senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

“We wouldn’t know who the Vice-President would be then. Would it be Robredo, would it be Bongbong Marcos? But look at the uncertainty, I’ve been jurist for (a) long time and there is no certainty when it comes to finality of decision,” Mr. Veloso said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Also subject to controversy in the draft Charter is the absence of term limits and of any provision banning political dynasties.