MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday dared the military and the police to “shoot” him if he stays in office beyond his constitutionally mandated term as Chief Executive.
“Ako sinasabi ko sa inyo ngayon, pag ako sumobra sa aking termino, isang araw lang, I am now asking the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP not to allow me or anybody else to mess up with the Constitution,” Duterte said in a speech in Compostela Valley.
“Inyong trabaho 'yan, to protect the Constitution, and to protect the people. Remember it as a solemn duty. Kaya ako ‘pag sumobra, gusto kong mag-diktador, barilin ninyo ako. Hindi ako nagbobola.”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III earlier this month said extending Duterte’s term beyond six years is a possibility as it may be part of a transition period once an amended Constitution initiates a shift from a unitary to a federal form of government.
Malacañang has dismissed any proposal to extend Duterte’s stay in office, saying the Chief Executive himself does not find such a scenario attractive.
Duterte has said several times that he would step down ahead of his 6-year term, which ends in 2022, if the country manages to shift its form of government from unitary to federalism.
Duterte’s allies in Congress are pushing to amend the 1987 Constitution, which shall trigger the change in the country’s form of government.
However, there appears to be a deadlock in Congress as its two chambers do not agree on whether they should vote jointly or not on the proposed amendments.
There is a legal debate on whether the two chambers of Congress should vote jointly or separately on proposed amendments to the charter under the 1987 Constitution
Several framers of the 1987 Constitution have said the two legislative chambers must vote separately, in observance of the bicameral nature of Congress.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, however, said the Constitution is clear in specifying that the chamber should vote jointly on charter change.
Critics say Duterte and his congressional allies’ move to amend the Constitution may be aimed at perpetuating themselves in power, and restricting several rights already enshrined in the present charter.