Duterte, Robredo can seek two four-year terms under federal charter

Audrey Morallo - Philstar.com
Duterte, Robredo can seek two four-year terms under federal charter
In this July 3, 2018 photo, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (right) shares a light moment with retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Nachura and ex-chief justice Reynato Puno after signing the draft charter for the proposed federal system of government at the PICC.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo can seek another term in office under the proposed federal government constitution, a member of the special body tasked to draft the new charter said, amid concerns of a perceived lack of transparency on the document.

Speaking on One News' "The Chiefs", Julio Teehankee, the chairman of the sub-panel on political reforms of the consultative committee that Duterte created to review the 1987 Constitution, said that both Duterte and Robredo could seek fresh four-year terms, with a chance for reelection, under the proposed charter.

Duterte and Robredo will serve for up to 14 years if both finish their current terms in 2022 and are able to secure two four-year terms under the proposed constitution.

"All elected officials will have four years, one re-election, so a total of eight years, from the president all the way down to the mayors," Teehankee said.

When asked if Duterte would be barred from seeking a fresh mandate, he said: "Their term will end in 2022. There's no ban (on their candidacy for another term). They can run under a new constitution. It's a like a reboot, a reset."

He explained, however, that Duterte's and Robredo's terms would not be extended under the new charter if approved.

The 22-member consultative committee led by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno approved on Tuesday the draft constitution and would submit it to the president on July 9, in time for his State of the Nation Address in the last week of the month.

Duterte is expected to formally endorse the proposed charter to Congress during his annual address.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay has criticized the process by which the proposed charter was drafted.

"They unanimously approved a draft, which they then tried to hide from the public," Hilbay said in a social media post.

"When copies of their work were leaked, they declared the copies were not yet final," he said.

He also said that the draft had no "constitutional value" because Duterte's consultative committee is not authorized to propose changes to the Constitution.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, a member of the consultative body, defended the current non-availability of the document to the public.

He said that the body was constituted to prepare the draft that Duterte could have prepared himself and would propose to Congress.

"So copies cannot be made available to the public -- and there is no public right to them -- because it is the President who has a right to his own draft first, and then he can make it available to the public. It will then be for Congress to decide how to take the draft," he said in his post on his social media.

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