Duterte expects to have a new constitution by 2019 headed by a new transition president - Roque
President Rodrigo Duterte is firm to step down by 2019 and to have a new transition president once a new Constitution providing for a federal form of government is approved, his spokesman said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this was the statement made by Duterte at the start of the Cabinet meeting shortly after the Consultative Committee (ConCom) submitted to Duterte the proposed draft federal constitution in a ceremony in Malacanang.
"Earlier he (Duterte) announced that he prefers to have a provision where the transition leader will be elected and he's ready to step down from his post once the new constitution is approved," he said.
Quoting Duterte, he said if the new constitution is ratified in 2019, he would step down.
"He said he was very tired, he is old," Roque said, adding this would "remove all suspicions" that he would continue to stay in power beyond his term, which will end in June 2022 under the 1987 Constitution.
With Duterte's instruction to the Concom, this means the 22-member committee has to change the transitory provisions of the draft federal constitution, particularly on Section 1, which states that the president shall be the Federal Transition Commission Chairman.
Roque said Duterte, 73, would also ask his allies in Congress not to make him the transition leader as he wants a younger individual to handle it.
During the turnover ceremony of the draft federal constitution, Concom chairman and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno said they came out with "complete, independent and unbiased" proposal, which seeks to establish a "Bayanihan Federalism."
"We divided the powers of government guided by the Filipino spirit of bayanihan where both the federal government and the federated regions govern the people, less in competition, but more in cooperation and aligned with the maxim salus populi suprema lex or the welfare of the people is the supreme law," he said.
Among the features of the draft federal constitution are the prohibition of political dynasties that have long monopolized the elections, and political turncoatism.
"Hence, political butterflies cannot flatter anymore from one political party to another political party," Puno said.
He said the proposed draft also prohibits monopolies and oligopolies that substantially lessen the competition in the market and abuse their dominance.
To fight graft and corruption, he said the proposed constitution transformed the Ombudsman to a commission type of office in order to investigate and prosecute more effectively violations of the anti-graft laws.
"The draft constitution also gave the Commission on Audit the power to conduct pre-audit and performance audit to ensure that the people's money is spent strictly in accordance with law," he added.
Duterte will endorse to Congress the draft constitution for its consideration. Roque said he did not know when Duterte will forward the draft to the Senate and the House of Representatives. Celerina Monte/DMS