PBBM: Simultaneous Cha-cha plebiscite, 2025 polls ’practical’

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

February 28, 2024, 10:09 am

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – The simultaneous conduct of the 2025 midterm elections and the plebiscite on Charter change (Cha-cha) is the “practical thing” to do, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.

In an interview before going to Canberra, Australia, Marcos said it would be costly if the midterm elections and the plebiscite for the ratification of the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution would be done separately.

“Dahil ‘pag ihihiwalay natin yung eleksyon at saka yung plebiscite, parang dalawang eleksyon ‘yun. Napakamahal. So baka maaari kung isabay natin ‘yung plebisito sa local elections na gagawin sa Mayo next year (Because if we separate the election and then the plebiscite, it will be like two elections. Very expensive. So it might be possible if we conduct the plebiscite simultaneously with the local elections that will be held in May next year),” Marcos said.

“So if we are able to incorporate the two exercises together as a practical matter, sa palagay ko makakatulong yun (perhaps, that could help),” he added.

Marcos said the plan is favorable to the government because a lot of money would be saved, if the plebiscite and the 2025 polls were carried out simultaneously.

He said the matter is still being studied to ensure the smooth conduct of the two electoral exercises.

“Malaking bagay ‘yun, malaking savings para sa atin kaya ayun, pinag aaralan naming mabuti (That’s a big thing, big savings for is that’s why we are studying it carefully),” he said.

The Commission on Elections on Tuesday said the separate holding of Cha-cha referendum and midterm elections would require a funding of at least PHP13 billion.

Lawmakers, however, still prefer to hold the plebiscite before the 2025 elections to avoid possible politicization of the issue.

Marcos was opposed to the idea, saying it would be better to hold the plebiscite alongside the midterm elections.

“Well, hindi ibig sabihin na kapag natapos na ang House or ang Senado, kailangan nang magplebisito. Maaari naman tayong maghintay para mag plebisito. Sabay na nga ng local elections. So, titignan natin (Well, it doesn't mean that when the House or the Senate is finished, it is necessary to hold a plebiscite. We can wait for the plebiscite and hold it alongside the local elections. So, let's see),” he said.

“It’s very hard also to have a plebiscite before the election kasi mabubulilyaso ang preparation para sa halalan. So, ‘yun na nga (because the preparation for the election will be affected. So that’s it), we have to take all of these things into account. I think we will come up with a good solution,” Marcos added. (PNA)