MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to cut short his term if the country adopts federalism, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday.
This, despite Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III's statement that Duterte may have his presidency extended "if necessary" should Congress approve a new Constitution in 2019. The President's 6-year term is set to end in 2022.
"Malinaw po ang sinabi ng Pangulo na ang kaniyang termino ay mag-e-end on or before 2022," Alvarez told DZMM.
"Ibig sabihin, kung kinakailangan siyang mag-resign bago mag-2022 para sa ating bagong Saligang Batas, iyung bagong sistema ng gobyerno, kaya niyang gawin agad iyun."
(The President has clearly said that his tem would end on or before 2022. This means that if he needs to resign before 2022 for the sake of our new Constitution, the new system of government, he would do so immediately.)
The Davao del Norte representative added that Duterte, his longtime ally, is already "exhausted."
The shift to federalism was among Duterte's major campaign promises to "correct the injustices" against the Moro people. Pimentel and Alvarez, his fellow Mindanaons, are backing the move.
Under the federalism proposal of Duterte's PDP-Laban, a dual executive setup will be applied, with the president as the head of the state, chief diplomat, and commander in chief of the military. He also has the powers to appoint members of the judiciary.
The prime minister will function as the head of the government, dealing with day-to-day affairs such as domestic and economic policy. He also has the function of appointing members of the Cabinet.
Jonathan Malaya, executive director of the PDP-Laban Federalism Institute, said PDP-Laban is open to having an “optional” vice president on the condition that both president and vice president are elected from the same political party through tandem voting.
The country’s legislature meanwhile will maintain a bicameral setup under the PDP proposal.