No term extension for Duterte under federalism: Puno

MANILA A term extension for President Rodrigo R. Duterte is highly unlikely when the Philippines shifts to a federal form of government, former chief justice Reynato Puno, chair of the Consultative Committee (Concom) to review the 1987 Constitution said Monday.

Puno made the remark amid concerns of opposition lawmakers and critics that the shift to federalism would mean extension for Duterte beyond the end of his term in 2022.

Duterte, however, has said several times that he would step down even before the end of his term once federalism is put in place.

By the time we have shifted to a federal form of government, a new president will be voted, Puno said in a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the ConCom holds its meetings.

Puno pointed out that the limits under the 1987 Constitution will still be binding.

He also assured that the transition period to a federal form of government will not go beyond 2022.

The transition period will not go beyond 2022, that's the (end of the) term of President Duterte, Puno said.

The Concom also earlier voted on an anti-political dynasty provision that prohibits an incumbent official's second-degree relatives from succeeding each other in office and limits the number of positions they can hold to only two - one national and one regional or local.

There is that term limit and in fact, in the anti-political dynasty provision that the Committee approved, there can be no succession to the Office of the President by any member of his family within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, Puno pointed out.

Puno, meanwhile, said that he found it almost impossible to hold the plebiscite to ratify the revisions to the 1987 Constitution in October this year.

I think it's almost impossible to have this new Constitution approved by the people by October of this year, Puno said.

He explained that Congress would still have to convene as a constituent assembly (Con-Ass), but the Senate has not agreed to join the House of Representatives (HoR). Deliberations can only start when Senate agrees.

Puno said the Senate might also be busy acting as an impeachment court to hear the impending impeachment trial against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Source: Philippine News Agency