By Rodolfo Andal
DAVAO City – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday proposed to terminate his presidency before the start of a new charter to prove his critics wrong that he only wants to extend his term.
“Sabi nila gusto kong mag-Presidente. Itong mga opposition, they are so engrossed na every time they look at the proposal sa Constitution, ‘Ah, Duterte will make it longer for him to stay in power,’” he said in a speech at the SMX Convention Center here.
The Consultative Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution has approved the draft of the proposed federal constitution on July 3 and hopes to submit the draft to President Duterte on or before July 9.
“I will make a proposal. The Constitution [is] now being reviewed by the Congress, but the Constitutional Convention Committee of Justice Puno can make this correction and I suggest, and I would like [the] Congress to approve it,” he said.
“Make my term co-terminus, with the beginning of the draft constitution. Make me stop being President during the transition. In other words, elect a President before you make the transition from unitary to federal. I would be willing to accept the proposal. Galing na sa akin ‘yan,” Duterte, whose term will end in 2022, said.
The Chief Executive told the Consultative Committee to make the final changes and “Make me President only next year, 2019, and I will accept it.”
“Trabahohin ninyo. Make the changes now. Make me resign or ask me to step down by a Constitutional fiat that there will be an election before we proceed with the adoption of the Constitution,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Duterte urged Filipinos to take legal action against the government over “unlighted, uncovered” public infrastructure projects.
“Ang corruption, naiinis ako, kasi ‘yung dinadaanan araw-araw ng tao, hindi inaayos. Marami na lang nahuhulog diyan, marami na lang namatay. It’s almost nonchalant so make it a criminal issue. Pag nahulog ka diyan, nabunggo ka [kasi] unlighted, uncovered, ganun, you sue the government. Siguradong manalo kayo diyan,” he said.
“Sue the government and I will sue the supervisor and maybe ask the Secretary, ‘kindly explain to me kung bakit ganito ang sitwasyon,’” he said.
At the same time, Duterte vowed that he would immediately act on graft and corruption complaints.
“If it is something that ails, that bugs you because it involves graft and corruption or [if the] government is not doing what it’s supposed to do, just bring it to my attention and I will act on it immediately. Lalo na corruption,” he said.
The Chief Executive was at the SMX Convention Center here to grace the opening ceremony of the annual National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) Celebration in Mindanao organized by the Mindanao Cluster of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The three-day event aims to showcase the capability of science experts and inspire the youth and other sectors in patronizing the local technology.
The President, for his part, underscored his administration’s priority to provide a comfortable and secure life for the Filipino.
“Rest assured that you have my full support in empowering individuals and bringing our country towards greater heights. I trust that you will be with me as we work together in establishing a brighter and better future for all,” he said.