Senior Vice President Aurelio “Dong” D. Gonzales Jr. Photo from his Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Senior Vice President Aurelio Gonzales Jr. disputed claims that the Charter change is being sought because some lawmakers aspire to be prime minister, clarifying that the Constitution amendment would focus on economic provisions.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Gonzales was asked about Senator Imee Marcos' statement on the charter change – where the latter said some people may be trying to add a prime minister position because they cannot win an election.

But Gonzales explained that economic provisions, which were supposed to open the country to more investment, are the reason behind the amendment of the 1987 Constitution.

“Prime Minister? Nothing, I don't hear anything about the Prime Minister, we don't talk about the Prime Minister, as long as we are talking about politics, about my term limits, five years and two terms, then there is only re-election of the president, it seems like the vice-president president for continuity.“I don’t always tell you continuity,” he said.

“My bill is very clear, isn’t it, just term limits and then economic provisions. So, I didn’t tell you yesterday that I presented this in three Congresses – today, the 17th, 18th and 19th, so that’s what we filed,” he said.

Even if calls to change the charter address political issues — like his previous proposal — Gonzales said it would not add the position of prime minister, but would only change the length and term limits of elected officials.

“I told you, senators, they will not be affected, they still have six years if we talk about politics. But we will focus more on economic provisions,” he added.

Gonzales suggests giving five-year terms to presidents, legislators and other local government officials, with the possibility of re-election for another term.

Earlier, Marcos – sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and cousin of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez – said it appears House lawmakers have not learned from previous incidents where Charter change was promoted but did not result in any development .

Senator Marcos said this after President Romualdez and Gonzales expressed hope that Charter change proposals to open the economy would be considered in 2024.

Prime Ministers (PM) are the heads of government in a parliamentary form of bureaucracy, where legislators in a unicameral Congress select among themselves who would be prime minister.

However, Gonzales clarified that he was not suggesting a unicameral form of government, noting that the senator's usual two- to six-year terms are kept intact.

“I didn't say anything, I'm just saying this, the senators are still there, six years, two terms, it's not… They won't be affected, I didn't say partisan either. I just said that from deputy, governor from now on if possible instead of three years, we will do five years with two terms”, he said.

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“Look, next year 2025 the barangay elections ended in October, so next year’s elections will be the 2025 barangay elections. So every year it’s like we have elections, right? Always an election. So we have to fix this,” she added.