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Duterte bucks term extension amid revived talks on Cha-Cha

MJ Blancaflor

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday shot down speculations that he wants to extend his term of office beyond 2022 amid efforts by his allies to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Duterte, in his speech during the inauguration of the Metro Manila Skyway Project 3, said he will reject term extension even if it was presented to him on a silver platter.

“Maski ibigay mo sa akin on a silver platter, maski ibigay mo sa akin another 10 years, sabihin ko sa iyo, put*ngin* mo. Iyo na lang ‘yan. Tapos na ako,” Duterte said.

The event was attended by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who insisted that the Lower Chamber wants to propose changes in some of the Charter’s economic provisions amid the pandemic.

The Palace has repeatedly denied rumors that Duterte intends to prolong his stay in Malacañang so he is relying on his so-called supermajority in the Congress to do the work for him.

This week, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments resumed its deliberations on Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which seeks to propose amendments to the “restrictive” economic provisions in the Constitution.

Velasco himself filed the resolution, saying Congress should lift the constitutional restrictions on foreign investments in land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.

Under the resolution, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would be added to the constitutional restrictions that limit the participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital.

RBH 2 will call both the House and the Senate to convene into a Constituent Assembly, one of the three allowed modes in changing the Constitution, to amend the said economic provisions.

Velasco, for his part, defended his chamber’s renewed push for Charter change, emphasizing the need to loosen restrictions on foreign investment.

“The need to attract foreign capital is critical to support our economy’s recovery from COVID-19,” he earlier said.

Velasco said he is hoping to finish debates on Charter change before the end of 2021 and present it to Filipinos for ratification in the 2022 elections.

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