Duterte wants an elected leader to head federal transition gov’t

MANILAPresident Rodrigo R. Duterte wants to hold general elections to determine the transitional leader who will head the proposed shift to a federal system of government, MalacaAang said on Tuesday.

General elections ang iniisip ng ating Pangulo para doon sa magiging transition leader natin (Our President is thinking of general elections to determine the transition leader), Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Indang, Cavite.

Roque made this remark a day after Duterte received the draft federal Constitution from the Consultative Committee (ConCom) he formed to draft the proposal.

He explained that under the proposed federal Constitution, the new government will take effect June 30, 2022, the last day of Duterte's term.

However, Duterte said that he could leave his post as early as 2019 if the people will ratify the federal Charter. The 73-year-old President has repeatedly said that he was tired and wanted someone younger to take his place.

Kung maaprubahan nga po 'tong Saligang Batas na ito, ang sabi ng Presidente bababa siya sa kaniyang posisyon ng 2019 (If this new Constitution is approved, the President said that he will step down in 2019), he added.

Earlier, the ConCom bared that Duterte will lead the 10-member Transition Commission on Federalism which will formulate and adopt a transition plan for the orderly shift to the new system of government, as provided for in the new Constitution.

Following the President's instructions to cut his term short to erase suspicions of plans to stay in power beyond 2022, the ConCom said it will review and revise the transitory provisions.

Roque explained that Duterte's decision to step down early will be pursuant to the transitory provisions of the proposed federal Constitution which the people may ratify.

It may be recalled that Roque earlier said that Duterte is willing to serve as transitional leader as long as he will serve within his term or until mid-2022. However, Duterte apparently changed his mind and wanted to step down as early as possible.

Kaya nga pinabago niya yung transitory provision para i-recognize na (That is why he asked the ConCom to change the transitory provision to recognize that) the transition leader will have to be elected, Roque said.

In other words, yung bagong Saligang Batas kung ira-ratify ng taumbayan (the new Constitution, if ratified by the people) will be the instrument that will cut short the term of the President, he added.

On Monday, Roque pointed out that if the public rejects or does not ratify the new charter, Duterte will not be allowed to step down until he finishes his term.

Leader's qualifications

The ConCom has yet to release the qualifications of who may run for the position of transitional leader but according to Roque, any qualified Presidential candidate may run for transitional leader.

Dahil 'yan ay (Because that is) intended originally for the President, anyone who is qualified to run for the position of President can also run for the post of transition leader, Roque said.

Roque, however, said it is best to wait for the ConCom's declaration.

Antayin po natin dahil ang naging deklarasyon naman ng (Let's wait for the declaration of the) Consultative Committee. They will comply with the wish of the President and they will redraft it to provide for the specific provision na hinihingi po ng Presidente sa (being asked by the President in the) transitory provisions, he added.

Simultaneous

Roque pointed out that the holding of referendum on the new charter may occur simultaneous with the 2019 mid-term elections.

Ang inaasahan nga po natin ay kasabay 'yan ng 2019 elections so kasama na po sa budget ng 2019 elections siguro po 'yun (We are expecting it to be held at the same time as 2019 elections so it will be part of the budget of the 2019 elections), Roque said.

Roque also said that the government had enough funds for the possible transition to a federal system of government noting that a supplemental budget could always be sought for from Congress.

Hindi naman po problema 'yun dahil kung hindi sapat o kung walang appropriation, puwede naman magkaroon ng supplemental budget (That's not a problem because if we don't have enough appropriation, we can have a supplemental budget), he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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