Duterte can run again under draft Charter

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Duterte can run again under draft Charter
Julio Teehankee, chairman of the Concom’s sub-committee on political reforms, said there is no ban prohibiting Duterte from seeking the presidency under the proposed federal constitution.
PPD / Rey Baniquet

Up to 8 years more possible

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte may serve as the country’s Chief Executive until 2030 should he decide to run for re-election under the proposed charter for the federal government envisioned by his administration, according to a member of the consultative committee (Concom) that drafted the proposed federal charter.

Julio Teehankee, chairman of the Concom’s sub-committee on political reforms, said there is no ban prohibiting Duterte from seeking the presidency under the proposed federal constitution.

“It’s like a reboot. It’s a reset,” Teehankee told “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News last Wednesday.

“Their term will end in 2022. There’s no ban. They can run under a new constitution,” Teehankee added, referring to Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo.

In the proposed federal charter, all elected officials will have a term of four years, with one possible re-election.

The president and vice president will be elected in tandem, preventing instances when the top two highest officials come from different parties.

Should the new constitution take effect in 2022 at the end of his present term, Duterte will be allowed to run for a fresh four-year term and then another re-election for a term that will end in 2030.

Teehankee clarified, though, that there will be no term extension for any official during the transition to the proposed federal government.

Duterte, 73, has previously dismissed reports of his plan to stay in power, at one point promising to step down should a new constitution take effect.

Critics have warned that the proposed shift to a federal form of government would allow Duterte to extend his presidency.

Political reforms

Their proposed federal charter will introduce new reforms to the political system in the country, according to Teehankee.

Two senators will come from each of the proposed federated regions, which will be governed by local officials under a parliamentary system.

Regional governors and vice governors will not be directly elected, but instead be chosen by members of the regional assemblies composed of representatives elected by the people.

Teehankee said the composition of the Federal House of Representatives will be increased to 400, with 160 seats allocated to a proportional representation system that will replace the party-list system.

For the first three electoral cycles, he said half of the 160 seats would be reserved for five identified marginalized sectors: peasants, workers, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities and fisherfolk.

“These sectors can either form their own sectoral party or coalitions among these five sectors, but they have the entire 80 seats to themselves (for the first 12 years). The rest will be open to other sectors,” Teehankee said.

“The objective really of proportional representation is to encourage party-building,” he added.

Political dynasty, party switching

Teehankee said their proposed charter also includes a self-executing provision banning political dynasties up to the second degree of consanguinity and affinity.

Elected politicians will also have to give up their seats should they decide to change political parties.

Guest candidacies, or the practice of politicians running in different slates as guest candidates, will also be prohibited.

The Concom also introduced a democracy fund system that will allow the public to provide tax-deductible contributions to political parties they support.

“We have introduced a reform package in order to address party politics in this country,” Teehankee said. 

“We have prepared a set of political reforms which is a non-negotiable prerequisite before we embark on this great journey toward federalism,” he added.

Draft not yet available

Teehankee said no draft copy of the proposed federal chapter has been released to the public yet, as he noted that they would have to submit it first to the President this Monday.

“There are no nefarious or any conspiratorial reasons why we are hiding it,” he said.

“In fact, we would want to circulate and disseminate the draft to everyone and we would like everyone to read it and really find out what it’s all about,” he added.

The Concom member said the proposal to shift to federalism would address some problems currently faced by the country, including inequality in the development of regions.

“Federalism is based on the principle of self-rule and shared rule. It’s shared rule, not shared sovereignty. Some individuals, some sectors have the notion that it’s going to break the country into mini-republics. No, that’s not (what) we’re looking at,” Teehankee said.

“We are going to give everyone, the regions, an equal opportunity, the wherewithal to actually craft their own development,” he added.

‘Trojan horse’

Meanwhile, Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, yesterday questioned the Duterte administration’s push for a change into a federal form of government, saying this might just be a “Trojan horse” for the President’s possible intention to perpetuate his term beyond 2022.

Speaking at a democracy forum organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) in Pasig City, Monsod said the draft constitution for a federal form of government, which the 22-member Concom approved on Tuesday, provides no clause prohibiting Duterte from seeking a second term.

“But if (Durterte) wants to stay in power beyond 2022, the only legal way to do it is by Charter change, with a new constitution that allows him to run again... In other words, the question is: is federalism a trojan horse to stay in power?” Monsod said.

Monsod was able to obtain a copy of the Concom’s draft constitution from “reliable sources” and a review of it showed there is no provision prohibiting the current president and vice president of the country from running for a second term in May 2022. 

Monsod said that under Section 5 of the draft constitution, the first national, regional and local elections for the federal form of government shall be held on the second Monday of May 2022, and the elected officials which shall include the president, vice president, regional senators, district representative, proportional party representative and regional and local officials shall assume office at noon on June 30, 2022.

Monsod pointed out that while Section 6 of the draft constitution states that the term of the current president and vice president “shall not be extended” after June 30, 2022,” there is no explicit prohibition on (Duterte’s) running on the second Monday of May 2022 under the new constitution.”

CHR ‘not enthusiastic’

In a related development, another Concom member was bothered by the negative response of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) when it allegedly declined to have prosecutorial powers.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino told The STAR that the CHR’s alleged refusal to accept prosecutorial powers bothers him, as he wanted it to become a stronger commission when he proposed to give it prosecutorial powers.

In the current set up, Aquino explained that the CHR only submits findings of its investigation to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which is not bound by the mandate of the human rights commission.

Aquino said the DOJ then conducts its own preliminary investigation and afterwards decides whether or not to file charges against the parties involved – one thing that he wanted to avoid in the federal form of government.

“I wanted the CHR to conduct its own investigation and the power of the CHR to tackle the information in court, and so I am bothered. Why does it seem that the CHR is not enthusiastic about my proposal?” he said.

Aquino’s statement stemmed from the CHR’s response during a meeting with Concom members sometime in April when the human rights commission allegedly said that prosecutorial powers would only complicate things.

“The question is who will watch the watchdog?” CHR chairman Luis Gascon said during the meeting with the Concom.

But as far as Aquino is concerned, the CHR’s response and alleged refusal to assume prosecutorial powers is not fair, as it should be included in the federated charter.

More questions than answers

The proposed new charter presented to soldiers yesterday at Camp Aguinaldo brought more questions than answers to members of the uniformed services.

The proposed charter was presented at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Offices Club to the soldiers by panel members led by retired Army general, lawyer Ferdinand Bocobo and retired Navy commodore Rex Robles.

Case in point was the changing of the provision in the proposed statutes that saw the removal of the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP)’s principal functions as protector of the people and the state.

No less than AFP chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. noticed it, specifically pointing out the inclusion of the phrase in Article 1 of the new statutes’ “historic rights and legal title.”

“We don’t have any problem here, considering that the AFP is very professional. But for me, the provision declaring the AFP as protector of the people and state is already a pride for us soldiers that the communist has long wanted removed,” Galvez said.

Galvez was reacting to Bocobo briefing soldiers that the government will be assuming the function in order to prevent military mutineers from exercising this right illegally.

Bocobo, however, stressed that the AFP is part of the government  and will function as such in any eventuality.  – With Elizabeth Marcelo, Robertzon Ramirez, Jaime Laude

vuukle comment






  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with