Duterte seeks term end before shift to federal government

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 7) President Rodrigo Duterte wants the proposed federal constitution to end his term by 2019 – or three years short of his six-year term.

In a speech delivered Friday night in Davao City, Duterte said that he does not want to be the president while the nation shifts to a federal form of government.

“Make my term co-terminus with the beginning of the draft Constitution. Make me stop being President during the transition,” Duterte said, without explaining how that can be done.

He made the statement amid speculation that he will use constitutional change to stay in power past the end of his term in 2022. Under the present constitution, he cannot seek reelection after a single, six-year term.

“I urge Congress and [Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno] ngayon to make the final changes. Make me President only (until) next year, 2019,” the President added.

Puno, who heads the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the Constitution, said that he wants a plebiscite to approve the proposed charter to be held in the middle of next year, separate from the 2019 midterm elections.

READ: ConCom OKs draft of proposed federal constitution

The shift to a federal form of government was among Duterte’s campaign promises as a means to bring more wealth to regions outside of Metro Manila.

He said that if Vice President Leni Robredo, who has been vocal on her opposition against certain policies of the President, would like to have the position then she can have it.

“If that will satisfy ladies, Robredo, gusto mo ikaw na [do you want it to be you]? Depende. You can have it,” Duterte said, apparently also addressing his women critics.

Duterte has been facing opposition from the #BabaeAko movement that has denounced what they say is his misogyny and sexism. The movement stemmed from the controversial incident where Duterte kissed a married Filipina at a public gathering during his official visit to South Korea.

READ: TIME hails women of #BabaeAko movement as one of most influential people online