Can Duterte run again under new charter? Puno says no

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2018 12:49 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2018 10:20 AM

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will not be allowed to gun for a second term under a new federal constitution, the head of his committee drafting a new charter said Monday.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno said the term limits under the present constitution “will still be binding.”

“The term limit in the 1987 Constitution holds,” he told reporters, noting a succession ban also agreed upon by the consultative committee.

Under the proposal, incumbent elected officials cannot be replaced by any of their relatives within the second degree of consanguinity and affinity.

This will cover even grandparents and grandchildren.

Duterte, whose six-year term will end in 2022, had said he was willing to step down earlier if a new federal government would be in place.

The transitory provisions of the new constitution will be tackled later in the deliberations.

ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE

Puno said it would be “almost impossible” to have the new federal constitution ratified in a plebiscite by October this year, the deadline being floated by some congressional leaders.

Congress, he noted, would still have to convene as a constituent assembly to do the actual drafting.

While the House of Representatives had agreed on a constituent assembly, senators have yet to decide whether the constitution has to be amended or revised or whether the Philippines should shift to a federal system of government.

Puno also noted that the Senate would be “very busy” acting as an impeachment court to try Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“This will further take away their time,” he said.

“I really do not see how the month of October can be imagined as a date when the new constitution has been given to the people and ratified by the people.”

The House justice committee has prepared the articles of impeachment against Sereno but the plenary vote was deferred pending the resolution of a quo warranto petition against the chief magistrate before the Supreme Court.

The petition also seeks the removal of Sereno for allegedly failing to submit the required number of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth while she was applying for chief justice in 2012.