Malacañang respects Sara Duterte’s opposition to federalism

Pia Ranada

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Malacañang respects Sara Duterte’s opposition to federalism
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo says the presidential daughter's stance will not affect the administration's push for a shift to a federal system of government

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has no problem with presidential daughter Sara Duterte opposing federalism, which is among the major advocacies of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Everyone of us has his or her own ideas about how to solve certain problems. Mayor Sara has her own concept. We respect that,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday, April 29, during a Palace news briefing.

The week before, Sara said she is against the Philippines adopting a federal system of government, saying it would empower warlords in her home region of Mindanao.

Aside from agreeing to disagree with Sara, Panelo also downplayed her influence on the outcome of government efforts to shift to federalism.

While Sara is the President’s daughter with her own base of supporters, it is Congress and eventually Filipinos as a whole who will decide whether or not to approve a shift, said Panelo.

Asked if Sara’s stance might harm the administration’s push for federalism, the Duterte spokesman said: “Not really, because who will decide that? The framers of the Constitution and ultimately, the people of the Philippines.”

Federalism advocates are banking on the next Congress to pursue next steps to amending the 1987 Constitution to make way for a federal charter.

Sara’s party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, is backing senatorial candidates whose support for or against federalism will be critical if they get elected in May. (READ: Pimentel sees hope for federalism shift in Senate after 2019 elections–

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.