PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is not interested in a term extension, which could only be done with a change in the 1987 Constitution, his spokesman said on Monday.
“The President is not interested in extending his term,” presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque told an online news briefing. “He leaves it to the Filipino people, the sovereign people to decide if they want to amend the Constitution to postpone the elections.”
Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel M. Arroyo asked election officials last week to consider deferring the national elections less than two years from now, which effectively extends President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s six-year term, if the coronavirus pandemic drags on.
Mr. Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who is an ally of Mr. Duterte, told a House of Representatives budget hearing that coronavirus fears might affect voter turnout.
Commission on Elections Chairman Sheriff M. Abas told the same briefing there were no plans to postpone the 2022 elections since preparations were under way. Health protocols would be imposed and candidates may file their certificates of candidacy online, he added. The six-year term of Mr. Duterte, who is barred by law from seeking reelection, will end in 2022.
Mr. Duterte in past speeches said he was looking forward to the end of his term in 2022.
Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas earlier said she and other minority lawmakers would oppose any moves to postpone the elections.
The 1987 Constitution, the fruit of an uprising that ended the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos’s two-decade rule, bars term extensions, she said. — Gillian M. Cortez