Duterte rejects term extension, suspended polls

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the proposed term extensions for government officials, including himself, as his allies in Congress plan a shift to a federal form of government.

In an interview with MindaNews, Duterte also thumbed down the proposed suspension of elections if charter change pushes through.

"There will be no suspension of elections, and there will be no term extension, especially for me," Duterte told MindaNews on Friday, January 12.

With discussions on charter change taking place in Congress, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez previously said he is open to cancelling the 2019 midterm elections if the Philippines transitions to a federal form of government.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also said the 6-year term of President Rodrigo Duterte may be extended "if necessary" during the country's transition to federalism.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, responded to these statements saying Duterte wants to cut short his term, rather than extend it. (READ: Malacañang says Duterte doesn't want term extension)

Duterte's term is set to end in 2022. 

In the same interview, Duterte also said he envisioned a unicameral legislature composed of about 50 members, should the Philippines adopt a federal form of government.

The shift to federalism was among Duterte's major campaign promises. Pimentel and Alvarez are also advocates of federalism. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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