Con-Com considers electing president-VP as a team

MANILA, Philippines – Should the president and vice president come from the same political party and be voted as a team?

The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) tasked to study Charter Change is considering adding such a provision in the new constitution they will propose to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The 20-member committee reached a tentative agreement for such a provision which could be voted on in the next weeks.

Con-Com member Susan Ubalde-Ordinario said on Wednesday, March 7, that the pros and cons of such a measure were discussed earlier that day.

Those who want the provision say single-ticket voting, or voting for a president and vice president together, would ensure that politics doesn't get in the way of government work.

"The pros are arguing that it will ensure a smoother government machinery in which the president and vice president have a common platform, have a common direction. They have agreed on their own program of government which they will be tackling together," said Ubalde-Ordinario.

Two sides

Those on the pro bench point to "many instances in our past" when there was conflict between the president and vice president. 

"Somehow it deprives the government of the cooperative action of two of the most important officials of the country," said Ubalde-Ordinario, recalling the arguments raised.

In the current administration, for instance, the rift between President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo is well-known. Duterte, who belongs to the PDP-Laban political party, eased Robredo out of his Cabinet. He also constantly rails against supporters or members of the Liberal Party, Robredo's party, claiming they want him out of power.

On the other side of the fence, those against such a requirement said it would restrict Filipinos' freedom to choose a specific person for president or vice president since their choice of one would automatically mean they vote for the candidate's running mate.

"That they should be voted together will be a denial of the right of the people to choose who they wish as a vice president. It might not be taken positively," said Ubalde-Ordinario. 

Voting for a president-VP tandem is the system in the United States. The running mate of the winning presidential candidate automatically becomes the vice president.

The Philippines is one of the few countries with a presidential system that allows "split-ticket" voting. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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