ConCom heeds Duterte’s suggestion to bar him from reelection

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MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte, with his irrevocable decision, will be barred from running for President under the proposed Federal Constitution, the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to draft a new charter, said on Tuesday.

After the ratification of the proposed Federal Constitution, Duterte shall also call for election of a transition President and Vice President in tandem as provided for in the same charter.

The transition President shall preside over the transition period until 2022.

ConCom chairperson and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno said these were among the President’s instructions to the expert panel which they agreed “in principle” to include in the Transitory Provisions of the draft Constitution.

Duterte earlier instructed the ConCom that his term be made co-terminous with the start of the transition period to erase all suspicions about his desire to stay in power beyond the end of his term in 2022.

The President said he was also “tired” and wanted a “younger” president to take his place.

“We agreed to put all these instructions of the President in this draft Constitution. We shall still be meeting tomorrow to fine tune the details but in principle we will follow the instructions of the President,” Puno told reporters in an interview in Pasay City.

In-tandem

Puno said the election of a Transition President will include the election of a Transition Vice President since under the draft Federal Constitution, both officials are elected in tandem.

“This call for election of Transitory President, kasama na yung (will include the) Vice President. So there will be election for (Transition) President and Vice President. In tandem na ‘yan (That will be in tandem). After the ratification,” Puno said.

Puno said the Transition President and Transition Vice President will preside in the transition period until 2022 but shall also be exercising all the powers of the President and Vice President in the new Constitution.

He, however, denied that this transitory provision is meant to cut short Vice President Leni Robredo’s term.

“Sinama na ang Vice President kasi pag may nangyari sa Presidente, wala siyang successor tsaka maumpisahan na rin yung voting of the President and Vice President in tandem (We included the Vice President because if something happens to the President, he won’t have a successor and so that it starts the voting of President and Vice President in tandem),” Puno said.

When asked if Vice President Leni Robredo could run for Transition Vice President, Puno said she could even run for Transition President. “She can run for Vice Presidency and even President,” Puno said.

New Cabinet

Puno said the Transition President will also have his own Cabinet which means that all Duterte’s appointees will have to vacate their posts.

However, he said all other elected officials in 2016 and 2019 including senators and congressmen will serve in a holdover capacity.

“Lahat sila sa (All officials under the) ‘87 Constitution will be in a holdover capacity,” Puno said.

Puno said the timeline for transition period will be provided for by Congress once the plebiscite has been set.

Meanwhile, regular elections will proceed in 2022, he said. -PNA

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