By Camille A. Aguinaldo
PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. on Friday dismissed the statements made by a member of the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Constitution that President Rodrigo R. Duterte may seek reelection under the body’s proposed federal Constitution.
“PRRD has repeatedly said: not a second beyond his term in 2022. He has said what he said: not a second longer,” Mr. Roque said in a text message to reporters.
In a separate radio interview also on Friday, Mr. Roque said the transitory provisions of the draft Charter may enumerate a list of government officials, such as Mr. Duterte, who could be barred from seeking reelection under the federal government.
ConCom member and De La Salle University professor Julio C. Teehankee on Thursday said there was no ban prohibiting Mr. Duterte and even Vice-President Leni G. Robredo from running again under a federalized Philippines.
“Their term will end in 2022. There’s no ban. They can run under a new Constitution. Because it’s like a reboot, it’s a reset,” he said in an interview with “The Chiefs” at One News.
However, Mr. Teehankee also clarified that the ConCom made it clear that there would be no term extension for the current President and Vice-President.
Sought for comment on Friday, Senator Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III of the ruling PDP-Laban opposed the idea of reelection for Mr. Duterte.
“(I) disagree as to allowing President Duterte to run again. That changes the present rules,” he told reporters in a text message.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said “nothing is written in stone as of now” since the proposal of the ConCom was still a draft in which the Congress as a constituent assembly may change.
“All that will be subject to the perspective of the Constituent Assembly. What is being presented is a framework of the federal proposal. Nothing is written in stone as of now,” he told reporters in a phone message.
Asked whether the Senate will adopt the Concom’s draft federal Charter, Mr. Sotto said, “It’s not that easy. How can you adopt something you have not studied, reviewed or understood? It’s easy to say but it’s hard to do.”
He was also skeptical with the ConCom’s recommendation to have the plebiscite for the proposed Constitution by mid-2019.
“We have not approved the calendar for the Third Regular Session of the 17th Congress. How can they project that timetable?” he said.