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Duterte wants term cut if Philippines goes federal, says official

 

MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants to require a new presidential election in a draft of a new constitution so he could cut short his presidency, his spokesman.

A 114-page draft federal constitution that aims to put the Philippines under a federal system was submitted to Duterte on Monday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said a committee has agreed to Duterte’s request for the election of a new leader and would rewrite a provision.

There has been speculation that the proposed constitution is designed to allow the 73-year-old Duterte to cling to power beyond the end of his six-year term in 2022.

“It’s to remove all suspicions and I am tired, ready to give it to somebody else,” Roque quoted the president as saying.

The presidential spokesman said that Duterte was ready to step down as early as next year if the overhaul of the country’s political system is approved.

Duterte has argued that federalism would be key to ending a decades-long rebellion by Muslim rebels who have demanded their own autonomous region in the country’s south.

Left-wing groups and nationalists, however, have long been wary that opening the constitution safeguards against a return to authoritarian rule.

The current constitution was ratified a year after the 1986 ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. JHQ/Expat Media

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