Commentary

On Sections 1 and 2 of the proposed Federal Constitution

The supporters of Mr. Duterte are pointing to Sections 1 and 2 of the Transitory Provisions of the proposed Federal Constitution to assure the public that Mr. Duterte does not have any plans of extending himself beyond 2022.

But look at the Transitory Provisions themselves, and you would see that there is actually a way for Mr. Duterte to perpetuate himself in power beyond 2022 in accordance with the proposed constitution.


Under the proposed constitution, within six months from its ratification, Mr. Duterte is mandated to call for an election of a Transition President and Transition Vice-President. But nowhere in the proposed Constitution is Mr. Duterte prohibited from running as the Transition President. With the government’s resources at his disposal, he could very well run and win as Transition President.

Now, this Transition President, under Sec. 4 of the Transitory Provisions of the proposed constitution, will have the powers of the President under the proposed Federal Government. Ostensibly, it is so stated that the Transition President will have the powers of the Federal President only until June 30, 2022.

But what happens if we have not completely transitioned to the federal setup by June 30, 2022, and no elections for the federal system could be had on the 2nd Monday of May 2022?

This Transition President / Federal President will remain in power until elections for the federal system could be had, and a new Federal President would be elected and qualified. He might be a Caretaker President, but he will exercise all powers of the Federal President, because that is in the proposed constitution.

But Attorney, you will say, Mr. Duterte is already in the afternoon of his life, and he could return to God and know whether He is really stupid or not anytime, who would then be the Caretaker President if, God forbids (simbako), Mr. Duterte dies before we completely transitioned to a federal setup? That provision that the Transition President and Transition Vice-President would be elected in tandem was not set there without reason!

But Attorney, you will tell me, we could transition to the federal setup by 2022. Oh boy, we have not even complied with the simple requirement of providing housing for our urban poor under the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA), definitely a simpler task than transitioning to a federal system, for 16 long years now, and you will tell me we could transition to a federal system in four years from today? You are hopeless over-optimistic.

But Attorney, you will protest, Mr. Duterte will not run as Transition President. Of course he will not. NOT! Amaw lang gyod ka o amaw gyod ka? How many times had he said one thing and did the complete opposite?

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