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DURING SHIFT TO FEDERALISM

Pimentel says Duterte term may be extended ‘if really necessary’


President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term may be extended “if really necessary” during the “transitory period” under the shift to federalism, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Wednesday.

Pimentel is the president of the ruling party PDP-Laban where Duterte is the party chairman.

Pimentel said a term extension will “depend on the transitory provisions.”

“Depends too on when we approve the new Constitution. If 2019, then the next three years will be the transitory period,” Pimentel explained in a text message to reporters.

“We can extend the President's term 1. if really necessary, and 2. if he is amenable to it, and 3. since that extension will be part of the new Constitution, the new Constitution is approved by the people themselves,” he said.

Duterte’s six-year term will end in 2022.

Pimentel earlier said that PDP-Laban wants to adopt a "uniquely Filipino” federalism model with two constitutionally established orders of government -- a federal government and regional governments.

On ANC, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Congress can convene this month to discuss proposals on federalism, a priority of the Duterte administration.

Meanwhile, Pimentel dismissed the possibility of a no-election scenario next year. “We can shift to federalism and allow all scheduled elections under the existing Constitution to go on and be held,” he said.

“What is important are the transitory provisions which will govern the terms and duties of those elected in the last election under the 1987 Constitution,” Pimentel added.

Alvarez, who sits as secretary general of PDP-Laban, said a no-election scenario is possible in the 2019 midterm polls if the shift to a federal form of government pushes through this year. —KBK, GMA News

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