By: Xave Gregorio
A lawmaker from the House of Representatives wants another term for President Rodrigo Duterte, as the “undisciplined people” of the Philippines need a ruler with an “iron fist.”
Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said Duterte, who previously backtracked on his campaign promise to eradicate drugs and criminality within three to six months, needs more time to implement his reforms.
“A good president, like President Duterte, needs more time to implement his projects and advocacies, and fulfill our people’s dreams,” said Barbers, who chairs the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.
“While we see where these are all going, we may not see its full fruition in the remaining time of the President’s term. If it were only up to me, I would give him an extension of another term. What is a few more years if it guarantees profit for the country,” he said.
The present Constitution gives elected presidents a single six-year term and bars them from getting re-elected.
Barbers claims this is not enough for a leader like Duterte, who “rules with an iron-fist and never hides his intentions.”
“Rome was not built in a day. Yet, if Rome had leaders with unextendable six-year terms each, then it probably would not have had the capability to conquer even a province outside of Rome,” Barbers said.
Both Senate President Koko Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez have floated the possibility of extending Duterte’s term under a new Constitution, but the Palace said the President is not seeking to extend his term.
Senator Kiko Pangilinan, the Liberal Party president, has warned that a 10-year rule of Duterte is provided for in the draft amendments to the Constitution under its transitory provisions.
However, ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera, one of the authors of the proposal, dismissed these rumors, saying that a transition government would only last up to three years.
Alvarez said convening Congress into a constituent assembly which would propose revisions to the Constitution is at the top of the legislative agenda for 2018.
Pimentel, meanwhile, is set to file a Senate counterpart of the House resolution calling for a constituent assembly within this week.