VP candidates split on proposed ‘tandem vote’

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 20) — Vice presidential candidates are divided over the proposal to mandate a “tandem vote” for the two highest government posts.

Three aspirants, including Dr. Willie Ong, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and lawyer Carlos Serapio on Sunday said they are in favor of a single-ticket system to ensure effective governance.

“Nakita ko kasi sa experience ko, medyo magulo talaga ang politika natin. Maraming sakitan, masasamang salita nasasabi, kaya kapag hindi mag-partner, hindi ko alam kung papano sila magtatrabaho eh,” Ong said during the Commission on Elections vice presidential debate.

[Translation: In my experience, I saw that our politics is messy. There are a lot of attacks made and hurtful words said, so I don’t know how two people who are not partners would work together.]

Pangilinan and Serapio agreed that there should just be a single vote for a presidential and a vice presidential candidate running in tandem. Like Ong, they said having the top two leaders come from the same political party would help prevent conflicts and establish a more unified agenda.

At least two other candidates, however, believe a tandem vote is not the solution. For one, pro-life advocate Rizalito David said problems in governance would more likely be resolved by shifting to a parliamentary form of government.

“Kahit naman magkasama pa ‘yan sa partido, ‘yung bagal ng proseso sa isang presidential system ay ‘yun ang dapat natin i-address,” he said.

[Translation: Even if they belong to the same political party, the fact remains that the slow process in a presidential system is the issue we need to address.]

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III also disagrees with the proposal, saying the current system of allowing split-ticket voting helps provide checks and balances.

Former congressman Walden Bello, meanwhile, did not give a categorical statement, although he raised the same argument as Sotto’s.

“Maganda sana kung pareho kaya na-elect ng ka-tandem mo, pero okay na rin kung hindi. Maganda nga na may kaunting check and balance doon sa Executive. Kasi ‘yun na nga, the vice president may not always agree with the president, and that sort of point of view is always appreciated,” Bello said.

[Translation: It would be good if you and your running mate are both elected, but it’s also okay if that doesn’t happen. A bit of check and balance in the Executive is good. The vice president may not always agree with the president, and that sort of point of view is always appreciated.]

Earlier this year, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed a resolution seeking to require a tandem vote for president and vice president, a system used in other countries such as the United States.

Economist Manny Lopez also joined the Comelec vice presidential debate, but he did not share his views on the proposal, which was not originally part of the prepared questions.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza did not attend the event. Duterte didn’t give a particular reason, while Atienza said he is still recovering from a knee surgery.

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