2019 polls will push through: Palace

MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday assured the Filipino people that the mid-term elections will push through in 2019, as scheduled.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the assurance after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's political ally, House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, suggested the postponement of the 2019 elections to give way to the possible shift to a federal form of government.

Like what we have been saying, the President is implementor of the Constitution. Unless the date of election, as stated in the Constitution, has been not changed, the President will implement (it) the 2019 elections will push through, Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque said the only possibility that elections would not happen next year is if the proposed new Constitution is ratified ahead of it.

In which case, the '87 Constitution would cease to have legal effect. But while there is still no new Charter, the President will make sure that there will be an election, he said.

Roque, however, clarified there is no reason for Alvarez to explain his proposal that drew strong opposition, particularly from government critics.

There is no need to explain because we all knew that Congress is another independent branch of government, he said.

Meanwhile, Roque said MalacaAang remains optimistic that the new Constitution would be ratified by the people next year.

And the President has said that if it is finally ratified by the people, then he will step down. He is hoping that both the Consultative Committee (ConCom) and Congress will adapt his suggestion, calling for a transitory provision, providing that the transition leader will be an elected post, he said.

Roque said Duterte has enough allies to convince the majority of the senators to give priority to Charter change.

The President, he said, has asked both the Senate and the House of Representatives to put a provision that he will step down and there will be a transition leader to be elected by the people.

As requested by Duterte, the ConCom has modified the proposed transitory provisions to facilitate the election of a transitory president and vice president, who will take over the government right after a new federal Constitution is ratified.

Duterte has said he will step down once the new Constitution is ratified by the people and a transition leader is elected in 2019.

Last Monday, Duterte received the draft federal Constitution prepared by the 22-member ConCom for almost five months.

Once ratified, a federal-presidential form of government, where 18 federated regions including the Bangsamoro and Cordillera, will replace the present unitary-presidential system of government.

Roque has described the submission of the draft federal Constitution as a "significant step toward realizing Duterte's promise to shift to federalism. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency