Albee to announce line-up, but federalism seen by 2019



Thursday, December 21, 2017
BY CARLA GOMEZ

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez, who is announcing the third district candidates for 2019 today, said the elections two years from now could already be under a federal form of government.

Benitez, who celebrated his 51 st birthday in Victorias City yesterday, also said he will support Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson for whatever post he will run for in 2019. Lacson is expected to run for governor of Negros Occidental.

Benitez is believed to be eyeing a senate seat in 2019, but yesterday said he could also opt not to run for any post.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said his birthday wish for Benitez “is a long life and a successful political career.”

The governor said while he is committed to support Benitez for senator, there may not be an election in 2019 with the shift to a federal form of government.

Marañon said he would then support Benitez for a seat in parliament as he could eventually become the country's prime minister.

Benitez said members of the Lower House, on their last session day before the holiday break, tackled the shift to a federal form of government.

“The initial step toconvening as a constituent assembly has taken place. By early next year we will definitelybe tackling the issue on constitutional amendments,” he said.

Benitez said a push for a shift to a federal form of government will definitely take place next year and maybe presented to the Filipino people for ratification before the 2019 polls.

There may be no elections in 2019 or, if it takes place, it may already be under a federal form of government, he said.

If a bicameral system is retained the proposal is for senators to be elected by region and not on a national scale, he said.

Also being discussed is a unicameral system where members of parliament will be elected, because some people believe that having a Senate and Lower House is a duplication of work, he added.

Under a federal form of government a president will still be elected, he said.

Meanwhile, about 25,000 members of the Asenso party from all over the third district will gather in Talisay City today.

Benitez he will announce the line up of candidates for the third district during that assembly.*CPG