Sotto: Congress may pass law to postpone 2019 polls

Bandera (Mindanao) - - NEWS -

CONGRESS may just pass a law to postpone the 2019 elections, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Thursday.

Initially, Sotto insisted that the only way to postpone the elections was to amend Article VI, Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution.

The said provision specifically mandates the holding of elections on the second of Monday of May every three years.

But Sotto later corrected himself after being told that there was a line in the provision, which reads: “Unless otherwise provided by law.”

“Therefore, you don’t need a plebiscite to postpone the elections. A law by both houses of Congress may be able to postpone the elections so I stand corrected,” he said at a press briefing after receiving a copy of the draft federal Constitution from members of the Consultative Committee (ConCom).

Asked then if a law was enough to postpone the elections, the Senate leader said: “Possible, if it’s indeed necessary.”

“E kung gusto namin talagang magawa kaagad siguro, ‘yun ang kailangan. Ti n g n a n d i n mu n a namin…” he said.

Sotto said Congress should study first the ConCom’s draft, pass a joint resolution calling for a Constituent Assembly, and then decide if they could finish the review of the proposed federal Constitution by December or just postpone the 2019 polls.

He was quick to clarify though that it was just his own scenario and not “written in stone.”

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has floated the idea of a no-election scenario, saying that scrapping the May 2019 polls would be practical to pave the way for a smooth course for federalism.

But Senator Grace Poe said the Senate would not approve any plans to cancel the 2019 midterm elections, as she opposed the “no-election” scenario House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has floated.

In a television interview, Poe said any move to shortcut the proposed shift to a federal form of government would 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 amid the administration’s keen push for federalism.

Poe maintained that Alvarez has to deal with Senate first before any postponement of polls could happen. —

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