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Roque: Duterte wants to cut short his term, not extend it

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

President Rodrigo Duterte has no plans to extend his term, despite the suggestion of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III that the chief executive could extend his incumbency should the country adopt federalism.

“I can categorically state that [the President] does not want that,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “He wants to cut short his term rather than lengthen it.”

Pimentel said that if federalism were to push through this year, Duterte’s term might be extended “if necessary” and if the chief executive would be “amenable” to it.

“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.

However, Pimentel clarified that the objective of the charter change was not to extend Duterte’s term.

He said that the term extension would still depend on the transitory provisions, which would dictate the terms and duties of those elected in the 2016 elections.

“And depends too on when we approve the new Constitution,” Pimentel said. “If 2019, then the next three years will be the transitory period.” /atm

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