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Duterte tells Concom to elect new leader during transition period to federalism

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MANILA — As President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s expert panel comes closer to finishing its draft Federal Constitution, the chief executive on Saturday night reiterated his commitment to step down once federalism was in place.

“We’re just trying to perfect everything and if you want a new leader during the transition you can provide it in the law itself…and I would be happy to step down,” Duterte said in his speech in Davao City speaking before Muslim leaders from various sectors.

“The time for federalism has come to our country. We have to move away from the style of unitary government,” he added.

Duterte said that the only reason he felt the need to remain as President was because he was trying to “fix everything” wrong with the current 1987 Constitution which he felt did not distribute power and resources to regions nationwide.

“The sole reason why I am holding out dito (this Presidency) is because I do not want trouble. The singular reason why I am trying to fix everything…” Duterte said, describing remarks that he would use federalism for a term extension as “garbage.”

Duterte said he has no plans of leading the transition to federalism noting he was willing to give up his position for “anyone” who could make the Philippines better.

“Basta kung sino yung gusto at kaya niya gawin ang Pilipinas na maganda (As long as it is someone who can make the Philippines better). If there is somebody who is ambitious but has the talent and expertise of crafting a government or a master’s of governance e ‘di bigay natin (let’s give it to him). They can try anybody,” Duterte said.

The Consultative Committee (Concom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution earlier said that it expects to complete its draft Federal Constitution this weekend.

The ConCom will kick off regional consultations in Dumaguete on June 18 then in Baguio City on June 25-27.

It is still on track in submitting its draft Federal Constitution to the President on July 9 or earlier, before he delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23. (PNA)