February 18, 2018, 5:45 am
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Lacson: Only Duterte allies want term extension

SEN. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said he has no reason to doubt Malacañang’s statement that President Duterte does not want to extend his term despite apprehension from some quarters an extension of terms of government officials might be included in a move to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for a shift to a federal government.

Echoing Malacañang, Lacson said Duterte has repeatedly said he does not want to stay beyond 2022. He said only Duterte’s allies at the House of Representatives want their terms extended.

On Wednesday, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers called for an extension of Duterte’s term, saying six years is too short for a leader of his caliber. Earlier this month, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said Duterte’s term may be extended by three years, “if really necessary,” during the transition to a federal form of government.

Lacson criticized anew congressmen who want to stay in their posts under a federal government, saying they have no shame about making proposal that would benefit them.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque reiterated President Duterte is against the postponement of the elections next year.

He also said he believes there is no need for the President to convey this message to the lawmakers, especially his allies at the House, because they have repeatedly heard him talk of his hope to have the shift to a federal form of government done at the soonest time possible. He said
Duterte has also been saying he is willing to cut short his term instead of extending it.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said fears about extending the President’s term are “misplaced” because any amendment to the Constitution would l be subject to ratification by the people.

He also said that if the people, during a plebiscite, decide in favor of a term extension for Duterte, the President “can always resign.” He declined to say who would succeed Duterte.

“That’s speculation. It’s premature to talk about it because we don’t know if it (term extension) would even be placed in the transitory provisions. What I know is the President doesn’t want any extension,” Panelo said. -- With Jocelyn Montemayor
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