By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is not interested in running for transition president to oversee the country’s shift to a federal system, Malacañang insisted on Thursday.
President Spokesman Harry Roque explained that the President actually pressed for the election of a head of the transition government under the draft federal Constitution since he does not want any role in it.
Roque made the remarks after former Chief Justice Hilario Davide claimed that Duterte could run for transition leader with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as running mate.
“Kung gusto po ni Presidenteng manatili sa posisyon, hindi na niya sana hiningi sa consultative committee na maglagay ng transitory provision na ang transition leader dapat ihalal [If the President wanted to stay in power, he would not have asked the consultative committee to put a transitory provision that the transition leader should be elected]. It would have been easy for him to stay in office, simply by hanging on to the office because the original transitory provision provided that he will be the transition leader,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
Roque maintained that Davide was wrong to raise the President’s possible bid as transition leader to lead the country to federalism.
“Hindi po mangyayari iyan na hiningi niya na gawing halal na posisyon ang transition leader tapos siya pa ngayon ay kakandidato muli para maging transition leader [It will not happen that he asked for the election of a transition leader just so he can become a candidate for transition leader]. It will not simply make sense,” he said.
Davide earlier said there was no prohibition for the incumbent President to run as transition president under the proposed federal Charter. He added that Duterte could even choose Marcos to be the transition vice president until the new federal government leaders are elected in 2022.
President Duterte earlier declared he was ready to step down early to give way to a new transition leader who will lead the country towards federalism. Duterte asked the committee led by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno to remove the provision designating him as the head of the federal transition committee.
Under the revised draft, the incumbent President is prohibited from running as President in the 2022 elections. The President will also call for an election for the transition president and vice president in tandem within six months from ratification of the federal Constitution.