Duterte threatens self-serving lawmakers
Change the Constitution properly or I’ll close down Congress.
This was the stern warning of President Rodrigo Duterte to lawmakers who plan to push for their personal interests in amending the Constitution.
“Mamili kayo. You do it properly. Huwag mo lokohin ang tao. ‘Pag pinilit ‘nyo ‘yan, sarado kayo lahat (You choose. You do it properly. Don’t fool the people. If you insist on pushing for your interests, I will close you down),” Duterte said before members of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in Malacañang on Wednesday evening.
The President was referring to the planned change in Constitution through a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass).
In Con-ass, lawmakers from both houses of Congress would convene to change the 1987 Constitution.
Duterte earlier wanted a Constitutional Convention (Con-con) but changed his mind upon learning that it would cost the government a budget of at least P10 billion up to P50 billion.
The President’s move to push Charter Change would make way for his plan to shift the form of government to a federal system.
The 71-year-old Chief Executive called on lawmakers not to abuse their power to amend the Charter.
“I will never ever allow it. Sabihin ko talaga, ‘huwag ‘yan kasi ‘pag pinilit niyo ‘yan sasarhan ko Congress. Huhulihin ko kayong lahat.’ Mamili kayo. Totoo,” he said.
(I will never allow it. I will tell them, “Don’t push it, because if you do, I will close down Congress. I will arrest of you.” You choose. I am not kidding.)
He said anything that would be agreed upon by lawmakers would be submitted to a plebiscite.
In his first State of the Nation Address on June 25, Duterte said he wanted a federal form of government like that of France.
He said wanted the country to have a Prime Minister and a President.
If his plan to shift to a federal government happens within four or five years, he said he was ready to resign as the country’s Chief Executive.IDL/rga
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