Pimentel opposes draft charter proposal allowing Duterte reelection

MANILA Senator Aquilino Koko Pimentel III said Friday he is against the provision in the proposed federal Constitution that allows President Rodrigo Duterte to seek another term should a federal government system be adopted.

According to a member of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to draft a Federal Charter, the President and the Vice President can seek reelection for a fresh four-year term under a new federal government.

The ConCom is expected to submit the draft Federal Charter to Duterte on July 9, in time for his upcoming State of the Nation Address on July 23.

(I) disagree as to allowing President Duterte to run again. That changes the present rules, Pimentel said in a message to reporters when sought for comment.

However, Duterte's ally in the Senate said Vice President Leni Robredo can run again since, unlike the president who is barred from reelection after one term, the 1987 Constitution provides that a vice president can serve for two consecutive terms.

That's okay because under the present rules, she can really run again, Pimentel said.

Earlier, MalacaAang insisted that Duterte is not interested in extending his term beyond 2022 even if the proposed draft Federal Charter does not prohibit him from seeking reelection.

He has said what he said: not a second longer, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message to reporters Friday.

Duterte has repeatedly said that he will immediately step down when his term ends, even offering to cut his term by two years if the country had 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 prefers to leave office early because he is already old and really wants to rest.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III clarified that the proposals under the draft Federal Charter are still subject to the scrutiny of lawmakers.

All that will be subject to the perspective of the Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass). What is being presented is a framework of the federal proposal. Nothing is written in stone as of now, Sotto told reporters in a text message.

Sotto added that he does not see the President interfering with Congress when it starts reviewing the draft federal proposals.

Knowing the President, he will not do that. He has never interfered with us. I doubt if he will interfere now, he said.

Sotto's statements coincided with MalacaAang's earlier pronouncements on Congress' sole prerogative to adopt or strike down the proposed revisions.

In a Palace briefing Tuesday, Roque 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 (of Representatives), 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, the Palace official said.

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)

Source: Philippine News Agency