- Senate president said chief executive’s current term may be extended by new Constitution
- He also brushed aside no-el scenario, said elections can still proceed in 2019
- Palace is cool to Pimentel’s suggestion to extend president’s term though
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said President Rodrigo Duterte’s term could be extended under a new Constitution if the situation demands it.
“We can extend the President’s term. One, if really necessary, and two, if he is amenable to it, and three, since that extension will be part of the new Constitution, the new Constitution is approved by the people themselves,” GMA News quoted him as saying.
“Depends too on when we approve the new Constitution. If 2019, then the next three years will be the transitory period,” he added.
Pimentel, the president of the ruling PDP-Laban, also allayed concerns of no elections in 2019; saying the same can be held under the new Constitution’s transitory provisions.
“We can shift to federalism and allow all scheduled elections under the existing Constitution to go on and be held,” he said. “What is important are the transitory provisions which will govern the terms and duties of those elected in the last election under the 1987 Constitution.”
For its part, Malacañanang Palace said Duterte himself does not want to extend his time in office.
“I can categorically state that the President does not want that,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. “He wants to cut short his term rather than lengthen it.”
Duterte has long espoused federalism as his preferred system of government in the country; saying it will result in faster development and better distribution of wealth in the provinces.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said Congress may convene this month to discuss proposals for the shift to federalism.