No term extensions please

Ever wonder why previous attempts to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution ostensibly to make it respond to changes in Philippine society did not gather steam and failed miserably?

          That's because despite high-flown rhetoric about making its provisions relevant to present-day needs, each attempt seemed to have one ulterior motive, or hidden agenda, which was to extend or prolong  the terms of office of incumbent officials.

          In other words, they would be able to continue to enjoy power and privilege without benefit of a clear mandate from the people.

          The draft constitution that's supposed to replace the unitary system of government with a federal one, it appears, is no different from thsoe proposed in previous years.

          While the the 22-member Constitutional Committee (Con-com) that wrote the proposed federal charter did not explicitly say that President Rodrigo Duterte would be allowed to run for a second term, it would seem that the shift from one system of government to another does not preclude the possibility that Duterte may run again for president under a federal system.

          According to the Con-com spokesman, this possibility is an unintended result of the change in the form of government. "When you change the Constitution and the system of government, it becomes a fresh start for all. That’s the natural effect, a natural consequence, of changing the Constitution,” he said.

          But didn't Duterte himself say so many times in the past, even during the election campiagn in 2016, that he only reluctantly agreed to run and later said he would prefer to give up the position once federalism is in place?

          Amid speculation that the proposed federal constitution would lift the single-term limit, the President reiterated that he is not interested in seeking another term, and even urged the Con-com to include a provision that would require him to step down before the formation of a transitional government.

          Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the ruling PDP-Laban party, believes that no politician, not even the President, should benefit from the proposed federal constitution, and that only the country should benefit. We agree completely.