A measure has been filed in the House of Representatives seeking longer terms for the position of president, vice president, congressmen, and some local officials, arguing that the current terms of office for these elective posts are "too short."
In filing Resolution of Both Houses No. 7, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales called on the Senate and the House to convene as a constituent assembly to consider proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution pertaining to the terms of office of select public offices.
He proposed to give the president a term of five years with reelection, or a total of 10 years, instead of the current six years without reelection. The president will also be banned from running for any elective post after his tenure.
"A six-year tenure is too short for a good president, especially if he is confronted with a crippling crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. It may take more than one presidency before the nation can fully recover from this catastrophe,” Gonzales said.
“On the other hand, if we do not like the way the president is governing, we can vote him out of office a year earlier if his term of office is five years,” he added.
Like the president, the vice president would also be given a term of five years with one reelection, according to the proposal. A vote for the president would also be a vote for the vice presidential running mate.
"This would strengthen the political party system and ensure that the top two officials of the land are one in leading the nation,” Gonzales said.
As for House members, governors, and mayors, Gonzales suggested giving them five years in office with just one reelection, instead of the current three years in office with two reelections.
He said a three-year tenure for these officials is "too short," as their first year in office would be dedicated to learning the ropes of their positions, with much of the work happening on the second term. The third term would largely be spent on reelection-related activities.
Gonzales' proposal would not affect senators and barangay officials, who would continue to have six years and five years in office, respectively.
He said the present terms of office of elective officials were fixed in the 1987 Constitution in response to the excesses during the term of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country for two decades before fleeing in 1986 after the first People Power Revolution.
“These have been with us for 34 long years. It may now be time to modify them to strengthen our political system and hasten national and local development,” Gonzales said.
Several measures seeking to extend the current terms of office of elective officials have been deliberated in past Congresses, but none has succeeded so far.