No election likely next year: Sagarbarria

DUMAGUETE CITY – With Congress now tackling revision or amendments to the constitution for a possible shift to federal form of government, midterm elections slated in 2019 might have to be postponed.

Second district Congressman Manuel Sagarbarria said that this scenario is likely once the House of Representatives and Senate shall convene as a Constituent Assembly.

But as you know, the Senate has passed a resolution not to attend the joint session of the lower house (under pain of expulsion) but declared itself a constituent assembly and will institute amendments to the charter independent of the Lower House.

He said that the process of changing the 1987 Constitution will take a long period of time although it is ideal that the proposed constitution will be ratified by the people on the 3rd quarter of 2018. Nevertheless, even if there is no election in 2019, it can be postponed to 2020 up to 2022.

“It is impractical to conduct two elections, one under the old constitution and another under the Duterte constitution as this will very expensive, Sagarbarria stressed.

He said that if the deliberations and approval speed up elections, might even be held in 2019 this time governed by Duterte Constitution although Sagarbarria believes that it may be too soon and tedious to put up a new bureaucracy under the federal system thus the need to postpone the elections to give enough breather and transition period.

It is estimated that the Duterte constitution might be ratified by the people next year, however since it will be midterm elections in May 2019 and there is a need for transition period from unitary to federal some find it prudent to extend the terms of elected officials by several months just to ensure an orderly transition.