Palace denies Duterte wants to stay in power beyond 2022, as allies push Cha-cha

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2021 01:47 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the people from the Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on Jan. 4, 2021. Simeon Celi, Presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte does not want to stay in power beyond the end of his term in 2022, Malacañang said on Thursday, as his allies pushed for charter change. 

The charter change drive has ignited speculation on social media that lawmakers want to change the constitutional term limit of officials. 

"Tsismis lang po 'yan," said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque. 
 
"The President has made it clear, wala po s'yang kahit anong kagustuhan na manatili ng isang minuto man lang beyond his term of office on June 30 of 2022," he told reporters in an online briefing. 

(That is just a rumor. The President has made it clear, he does not have any desire to stay in power for even a minute beyond his term of office on June 30 of 2022.)

Duterte's allies, Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald Dela Rosa, filed in December a resolution for both houses of Congress to convene as a Constituent Assembly to discuss limited amendments to the Constitution, specifically on provisions on democratic representation and economy. 

Charter change "is the sole constitutional prerogative of Congress and we respect that," said Roque. 

"Hindi naman kinakailangan bigyan ng basbas ng Presidente iyan... Tanging Kongreso lang po ang puwedeng magsimula ng proseso para sa charter change, hindi po ang Presidente," he said.
 
(That does not need the blessing of the President. Only Congress ca start the process of charter change, not the President.)

"Sa ngayon po, ang number one priority natin ang COVID-19, lalong-lalo na ang usapin ng vaccine. Wala pong ibang top priority ang Pangulo kundi matapos ang pandemyang ito," added the President's spokesman. 

(For now, our number one priority is COVID-19, especially the issue of vaccines. The President has no other priority apart from ending this pandemic.)

Video courtesy of PTV