Revised federal charter lets President Duterte step down before his term ends

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President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) Celebration in Mindanao at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) — The Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution finally gave in to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the final draft of the proposed federal charter released Tuesday, Duterte will step down to give way to an elected Transition President after the new constitution is ratified.

The President had asked the 22-member panel to include this  provision ending his term, after he rejected an earlier draft which had him leading the Federal Transition Commission.

Section 3, Article XXII of the revised draft states that "Within six (6) months from ratification of the Constitution, the President shall call for an election for the Transition President and Vice-President in tandem...Congress shall, by law, provide for the conduct of the election and appropriate funds for the purpose."

The two elected transition leaders must complete their mandate on  June 30, 2022 and would be ineligible to run for any public office in the elections that year.

The draft charter also bans Duterte from running for reelection in the May 2022 national polls, but allows Vice President Leni Robredo to vie for public office.

This is contained in Section 2, Article XXII which states that "The incumbent President is prohibited from running as President in the 2022 elections under the Constitution."

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated the President's promise to step down from his post in 2019 if the proposed federal charter was approved by then.

Under the present Constitution, the President serves for six years with no reelection, while the proposed charter gives the chief executive a term of four years with one chance for reelection.

The shift to a federal form of government was among Duterte's campaign promises, aimed at providing more autonomy and faster development in the regions.  There were earlier speculations that the President  would use charter change  to stay in power past the end of his term in 2022.