Davao City—Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said he supports the term extension of local officials, and that this could be achieved through Charter change that can be ratified in the 2022 presidential elections.
During a media briefing here Wednesday, Año said the term of local officials such as barangay officials, mayors, and governors can be extended from three to five years.
However, Año said that under his five-year term proposal, local officials may only serve for two successive terms.
“There should be a move on a Constitutional change for the terms of our local officials. Like for the barangay captains, one-year nila i-familiarize yung work nila, the next year yung implementation ng programs nila, then after that year election na naman,” the DILG secretary pointed out.
Año also said he was amenable to the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections next year, saying he strongly supports Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Joel Almario’s bill for the elections to be held in 2023 instead of 2022.
Nevertheless, the DILG chief made it clear that despite their longer terms in office, local officials should always be held accountable for corrupt practices and other acts that are inimical to the country.
“Yung mga palpak sa trabaho (those who are incompetent) at yung mga corrupt na officials tatanggalin ng DILG sa pwesto yan (will be removed by DILG),” he said.
But a Palace official said that the House of Representatives should conduct a survey on the people to know whether or not they agree on the proposal to extend the term of lawmakers.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said lawmakers should seek public opinion on the proposal to extend the lawmakers’ terms.
“I think more relevant would be what the people want. I think they should conduct a survey on the sentiments of the people―whether or not they agree on that proposal,” Panelo said.
“And I’m sure since that has been floated, there will be opinions being expressed by many sectors.”
Panelo made the statement after Cayetano, the first choice of President Rodrigo Duterte in the speakership race in the House, floated the possibility of extending the lawmakers’ terms to four years with no term limits or five years with term limits.
“It is not a political thing. It is a practical thing,” Panelo said Wednesday.
“While we will push for federalism, I think there is a way that the Senate will agree that we push either for four years, no term limit or five years, 3-term limit.”
Saying he wanted to implement his proposal in the next Congress, Cayetano then appealed to lawmakers to give his idea a try.
“Agree with me on this since I’ll only serve for 15 months. I don’t want to leave as a failure. I want to leave a productive [Congress],” Cayetano said.
“I’m asking all of you: Let us be the most disruptive Congress―in the sense that we disrupted the status quo and we can deliver more.”
Panelo, however, said the decision still depended on the members of Congress.
“The decision would always lie in the members of Congress because they are the ones passing the bill,” Panelo said.
“We will leave it to the judgment of the members of Congress.”
Under the Constitution, congressmen are only allowed to serve a term of three years and no more than three consecutive terms.