"Let’s be practical. 'Pag nag-shift ka into a different form of government – unitary to a federal you need a transition government," Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said. Facebook/Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, File

Cancelation of 2019 elections possible, says Alvarez
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - January 3, 2018 - 11:54am

MANILA, Philippines — The 2019 midterm elections may not push through if the Philippines will shift from a unitary presidential system to a federal parliamentary form of government, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday.

A transition government would be needed if the shift to federalism would be approved by May this year.

"May transitory provision nakalagay doon na 'yung mga elected officials na mag-expire 'yung term, kung kailan sila due for elections... depende talaga 'yan kung ano 'yung pagkakasunduan doon sa Constituent Assembly," Alvarez told ANC's Headstart.

RELATED: Federalism: What Filipinos need to know

"Let’s be practical. 'Pag nag-shift ka into a different form of government – unitary to a federal you need a transition government. Hindi pwede basta inapurabahan mo ng Mayo implement mo kaagad 'yan," Alvarez added.

If the May 2019 midterm elections will be canceled, the 12 senators whose terms are supposed to expire by then would have to extend their terms in 2022.

Alvarez said that he prefers that all 24 senators end their terms in 2022 as the Philippines shifts to federalism.

"Siguro mas maganda 'pag pina-expire mo lahat sa 2022 para wala ka nang utang so expired lahat ng term," he said.

Asked whether some senators are threatened that the Senate will be dissolved, Alvarez said that the Philippines originally had a unicameral government. The 1935 Constitution established a unicameral National Assembly but was amended in 1940 to create a bicameral Congress consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate.

Alvarez added that senators may still run for office in other government positions if the Senate will be dissolved.

"Pwede ka naman tumakbo sa kung anuman 'yung legislative branch ma ma-create ng bagong Saligang Batas," the speaker said.

The speaker is eyeing to convene the Congress into a Constituent Assembly this month to discuss the revision of the Constitution and the shift from a unitary to a federal form of government.

RELATED: Duterte: Filipinos not yet ready for federalism

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