Malacañang on Friday maintained that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is not interested in extending his term beyond 2022, even if the proposed draft federal charter does not prohibit him from seeking re-election.
“He has said what he said: ‘not a second longer’,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message to reporters.
The Palace official made the assurance amid speculations that the President may seek a term extension under a new federal government.
Duterte has repeatedly said he will immediately step down when his term ends, even offering to cut his term by two years if the country has shifted to a federal form of government by 2020.
The President, who turned 73 last March 28, also stressed in his various speeches that he wanted to leave office early because he is already old and really wanted to rest.
However, a member of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to draft a federal Constitution said incumbent officials, including Duterte, can run under the new Constitution.
“There’s no ban, so they (incumbents) can run under a new Constitution because it’s like a reboot, it’s a reset,” Julio Teehankee, chairman of the Concom’s sub-committee on political reforms, said in a television interview Wednesday.
He added that under the draft federal charter, all elected officials will have a term of four years and eligible to one re-election from the president all the way down to the mayors.
The 22-member ConCom approved the draft federal Constitution last Tuesday and is expected to submit the proposal to Duterte on July 9.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said after receiving a copy of the draft federal Constitution, Duterte will transmit copies of the proposal to his Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) partymates in Congress.
“I think the President, as chairman of PDP-Laban, the dominant party at the House, will transmit it to his partymates and he will encourage his partymates to study it very closely and, if possible, to pattern the proposed revisions after what the Commission (ConCom) has recommended,” Roque said Tuesday in a Palace briefing.
However, he added that it will be up to Congress to adopt the proposed revisions or not.
“We can only persuade the partymates of the President, but we recognize that the decision ultimately will lie in the individual members of the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Roque said. (PNA)