Duterte won't have any hand in bid to scrap 2019 polls – Roque
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte does not want to be involved in any bid to cancel the 2019 elections, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing on Thursday, July 19.
Roque said he himself asked Duterte for his thoughts on how the "House leadership" is proposing the cancellation of the 2019 midterm polls to give lawmakers more time to study charter change proposals.
Roque quoted Duterte as saying in response: "I will not have any hand in 'no-el' (no elections)."
"He believes in elections, he believes in democracy," added the President's spokesman.
Roque also said Duterte is against his "allies" reaping benefits from the proposed cancellation of the 2019 elections and charter change.
"He has asked the Consultative Committee to include the provision that would ensure that he will not benefit from charter change. He would like all his allies to do the same thing, not benefit from charter change. [He is] leading by example," said Roque.
Not once did Roque mention House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez by name during the Palace briefing. However, Alvarez is the lone voice, even among federalism advocates, calling for the cancellation of the 2019 elections. (READ: Is Alvarez bent on scrapping 2019 polls over fear of losing?)
Some senators have slammed the proposal, calling it "wrong and self-serving."
But Malacañang did not express disapproval of Alvarez's suggestion to start a People's Initiative to cancel the 2019 polls.
"If People's Initiative, what can you do if it comes from the people?" said Roque.
A People's Initiative is one way in which Filipino citizens themselves can propose changes to the Constitution, without resorting to Congress, as laid out in Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act.
Alvarez floated the idea of getting federalism advocates to start a People's Initiative with the goal of cancelling elections in order to speed up the shift to a federal system of government. – Rappler.com