Palace assures 2019 polls will push through

MANILA -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar assured Thursday that the midterm elections will push through as scheduled in 2019.

Andanar made this clarification after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez floated an idea of no-election scenario in 2019 under the proposed charter change shifting the system of government from unitary to federal.

The 2019 elections will push through. It is stated in the law, Andanar said in a television interview with morning show 'Unang Hirit'.

Andanar also said the move to change the form of government to federalism will continue, hoping it will be done within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.

This (shift to) federalism will push through because it is one of the campaign promises of President Duterte. So we will try within his term. We just don't know what year, Andanar said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte is mandated by law to hold the next elections.

Unless and until the Constitution is amended and ratified by the people, election will push through in 2019 and what the President promises that if the election will push through, we will have a credible and honest elections, Roque said in a press briefing in Davao City on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Roque reiterated that Duterte would not seek term extension, saying the President has even expressed readiness to cut short his six-year term if federalism will take place before 2022.

The President has definitely rejected even the idea of prolonging his term, Roque said.

Last Wednesday, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III floated the idea of term extension amid call to change the form of government to federalism.

If the Constitution will be amended to provide for federalism and a provision that would strengthen public culpability, he has said, he is willing to cut short his term, Roque said.

Source: Philippine News Agency