Duterte wants term cut if Philippines goes federal

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a news conference on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Pasay, metro Manila, Philippines, November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao


MANILA: The Philippine president’s spokesman says he wants a draft of a new constitution shifting the country into a federal system to require the election of a new leader before that change to cut short his presidency.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says a committee, which submitted the 114-page draft federal constitution to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, agreed to his request and would rewrite a provision. There has been speculation that the new constitution is designed to allow Duterte to extend his six-year term beyond 2022.

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

Roque said Duterte is ready to step down as early as next year if the overhaul of the country’s political system is approved.