Duterte says he won't cling to power

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2016 05:49 PM | Updated as of Oct 11 2016 06:11 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte does a fist gesture with members of Philippine National Police Special Action Force during his visit at Camp Abendan in Zamboanga City on October 10. Rey Baniquet, Malacanang Photo

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday again promised to quit the presidency if he succeeds in transforming the Philippines’ form of government from unitary to federal. 

One of Duterte’s main campaign promises was to establish a federal form of government, which he says would solve inequities being experienced under the current unitary-presidential system. 

Duterte said he would gladly resign and not complete his 6-year term if he succeeds in ushering in this new chapter in the country's history. 

“Next election, be prepared, ako wala na ako, salamat rin. If these guys can hammer out or craft itong hinihingi ng ating mga kababayan nating mga Muslim na federal, if you can finish it in three years, two years, I will go, I will resign,” he said.

(Next election, be prepared. If these guys can hammer out a federal form of government, if you can finish it in three years, two years, I will go, I will resign.)

“The moment it is ratified by the Filipino, you have my assurance, my word of honor. I don’t want to stay any longer kung 'di ako kailangan (if I’m no longer needed), I will resign and give way.”

Duterte also believes many of his political enemies want him out, especially those allegedly involved in the narcotics trade.

He said he does not mind being ousted through impeachment or even a military coup.

“Impeachment? Fine, I will go. Walang problema (no problem). Coup d'etat? I will go. Sige inyo na (it’s all yours),” he said.

Duterte’s staunch critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, earlier said that the current administration could postpone the 2022 national elections as was done with the barangay elections originally scheduled for October 2016.

"It’s likely that the 2022 elections for president would not happen because they can easily insert a transitory provision there allowing the incumbent president to be transition president until 2028 or forever," Trillanes said in an ANC interview last week.

Trillanes emphasized this was possible because the same scenario was also raised in 1987, with the Constitution having provisions "that allowed President Cory Aquino to continue her presidency without being elected."

The new 1987 Constitution that was passed, however, provided for a single term presidency and set the next presidential elections in May 1992. 

"I believe they have the propensity for such things," Trillanes said.