The head of the House of Representatives committee, who was accused of using sleight-of-hand tactics to have the Charter change resolution passed earlier by the panel, on Tuesday dismissed charges that the measure is self-serving.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said the proposed amendments to the political provisions of the 1987 Constitution will not benefit incumbent lawmakers as "it will be implemented after the election."
The committee approved during an executive session last week the House version of the joint resolution calling for Constitutional amendments, raising a howl from legislators that committee approvals should be done in open voting and not in closed-door sessions.
Among the controversial changes proposed is the longer term for lawmakers as well as local officials, a move which some legislators claim was Rodriguez way of enticing senators into giving in to his proposal.
Current congressmen have a three-year term and can serve for three consecutive terms while senators have a six-year term and are allowed one reelection.
The Senate is not keen on tackling the joint resolution, as Senate President Vicente Sotto III described “as a waste of time” due to its non-acceptability to the public.
But as far as Rodriguez is concerned, the three-year term for congressmen is "too short."
He said senators must "to keep an open mind" on Cha-cha.
“What we want is for them to take a stand. Are they in favor for economic changes? It has to be a discussion with the commission and not just let it set aside,” he added.
In addition to adding a year to the term of congressmen and allowing them to have three re-elections to allow them to serve for 16 years, the proposed Constitutional amendments decreased by one year the term of senators but allowed them to seek reelection twice, enabling them to serve for 15 years instead of the current 12.