Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that the 2019 local elections will push through, after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez pushed for their postponement to make time for the proposed shift to a federal form of government.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President would not buy Alvarez’s idea and is opposed to a “no-election” scenario.
He said it was the President’s commitment to offer people the most honest and credible elections in 2019. “The elections in 2019 will proceed,” Roque said.
The Palace spokesman added that elections can only be moved if the Constitution is amended before May 2019.
He also said that Alvarez’s statement did not have the blessings of President Duterte and that it was just the opinion of the House Speaker.
Roque said the only way elections would not be held is if the new charter is ratified, in which case the 1987 Constitution would cease to have legal effect.
Senator Grace Poe on Thursday said the Senate would not approve such a move.
Poe said any move to shortcut the proposed shift to a federal form of government will not be accepted by the public.
“The Constitution specifically states when we are going to have the elections and 2019 is certainly an election year. You can probably amend the Constitution but even if you do, you need the Senate vote,” Poe said.
Senator Francis Escudero said he saw no reason to scrap the 2019 elections.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri said the only way elections would not be held was if the Constitution were amended.
“Right now, I’m sorry to tell the Speaker, we still don’t have the numbers because to amend the Constitution, you’ll need three-fourths vote, which is 18 votes. The majority is only 17. Who from the opposition will join us? “ Zubiri said.