If the proposed federalism pushes through, President Rodrigo Duterte’s term may be extended if necessary and if he’s “amenable” to it, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said on Wednesday.
“We can extend the President’s term 1. If really necessary and 2. If he’s amenable to it and 3. Since that extension will be part of the new Constitution, the new Constitution is approved by the people themselves,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.
Pimentel, however, clarified that the objective of the charter change was not to extend Duterte’s term.
“The objective is federalism. That’s all,” he said.
The Senate leader added that the term extension would still depend on the transitory provisions, which will dictate the terms and duties of those elected in the last elections.
“And depends too on when we approve the new Constitution. If 2019, then the next three years will be the transitory period,” Pimentel explained.
He also addressed speculations of a no-election (no-el) scenario in 2019 if the proposed shift to federalism succeeds this year.
Earlier, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Congress can convene this January to tackle the proposal and submit the issue to the public through a referendum in May this year.
Pimentel said that the no-el was not an “either” “or” situation.
“We can shift to federalism and allow all scheduled elections under the existing constitution to go on and be held,” he said.
“Before we can operate under a new Constitution, the provisions of the existing Constitution must be followed. Hence, if there are scheduled elections under the existing Constitution, then this must be followed,” he added. /jpv