Marcos floats 2025 date for controversial Philippine referendum

Protesters against the plan by some lawmakers to change parts of the Philippine constitution shout slogans outside the Manila Cathedral on Feb 22, 2024.- AP

MANILA: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said a referendum to amend the constitution may be held along with the midterm elections next year, advancing his plan to revise the charter that has sparked a bitter dispute between the country’s most powerful politicians.

Conducting the two polls separately would be costly, Marcos told reporters in Manila on Wednesday (Feb 28) before he departed for an official visit to Australia.

"If we hold the plebiscite together with the local elections in May next year, that will mean big savings for us. We are studying it closely,” he said.

Marcos is pushing to revise the 1987 Constitution, seeking changes in economic provisions to attract more foreign investments and spur one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.

The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, Marcos’s cousin who’s supporting the plan, began deliberations this week on the proposed changes.

Any revision to the constitution will need to undergo a public vote via a referendum and must secure majority support.

The president’s plan has drawn opposition, including from former President Rodrigo Duterte, who has accused Marcos of seeking to prolong his term, which is limited to six years under the present charter.

Marcos has said the constitution - which was ratified after his late dictator-father’s ouster in 1986 - "was not written for a globalised world” and needs to be adjusted to spur economic activity. - Bloomberg

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Philippines , constitution , Marcos


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