Malacañang says Duterte doesn’t want term extension

Pia Ranada
Malacañang says Duterte doesn’t want term extension
'He wants to cut short his term rather than lengthen it,' says Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque about the Chief Executive

MANILA, Philippines – Responding to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III’s openness to a term extension for President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said the Chief Executive himself is averse to the idea.

“I can categorically state that PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) does not want that. He wants to cut short his term rather than lengthen it,” said Roque in a message to reporters on Wednesday, January 3.

Earlier that day, Pimentel had said Duterte’s term could be extended “if really necessary” during the shift to a federal form of government.

“We can extend the President’s term 1. if really necessary, and 2. if he is amenable to it, and 3. since that extension will be part of the new Constitution, the new Constitution is approved by the people themselves,” he said.

The shift to federalism was among Duterte’s major campaign promises. Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are also bullish advocates of federalism.

Duterte’s public messaging projects him as desiring a shortening of his term, not an extension.

Back in July 2016, he even said he would offer to resign if Congress is able to complete to process towards federalism.

He has also proposed resigning if he cannot control the spread of drugs, or if his children are proven to be corrupt

Duterte also often complains of the burden of the presidency, even saying he regrets running for the top post. (READ: Duterte’s constant musings on death, resignation)

Pimentel’s father, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr has said Duterte should not resign when the Philippines becomes federal so he could be the first to implement the new government system. –Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.