Pres. Duterte wants to elect a federal transitional president

The president will reject the possibility for a term extension, acknowledging the possibility of a truncated three-year presidential term to end in 2019

Amid considering a possible presidential term extension, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants the leader of the federal transition government to be an elected official, Malacañang confirmed on Monday, July 9.

The Consultative Committee (ConCom) is currently reviewing the 1987 Constitution and possible revisions and proposals. Among the provisions included in the new Constitution is one that will make the leader of the federal transition government to be an elected official. According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Duterte requested this measure, which would cut the latter’s term to be co-terminus when the transition period starts.

That means Duterte’s reign may be cut to three years.

According to Malacañang, Duterte previously expressed willingness to serve as the transitional period leader if the new Constitution is ratified earlier than expected, but as of press time, he wants someone else to fill the position.

“I understand that the transitory role they have for the President will be for within his term of 2022. So ‘yun walang problema (there won’t be a problem),” Roque said in a Palace press briefing on Monday. “He has made a personal decision. It’s only until 2022, earlier if possible.”

Changes made to the Constitution are to be ratified after a majority vote by the public, a vote which must be held between 60 to 90 days after the approval from the Constituent assembly. Palace officials have said that if the final draft of the Constitution is approved by the people, the transition president will serve immediately, which could occur as early as 2019.

“It’s to remove all suspicions and I am tired. Ready to give it to somebody else,” Duterte said, according to Roque. According to members of his Cabinet, Duterte reportedly said that the provision would make way for a “younger leader” to take over.

When reporters asked whether or not Duterte wanted former senator and 2016 vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. — with whom the president has close ties — to be the “transition president,” Roque said that “wala naman siyang sinabing napupusuan (he didn’t name anyone in particular).”

A Cabinet official added that a provision will be added that will prevent the president from running or seeking re-election, a mandate requested by Duterte.

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