Not proper time to discuss chacha in SONA: Duterte

By Azer Parrocha

July 22, 2019, 9:50 pm

<p>President Rodrigo R. Duterte</p>

President Rodrigo R. Duterte

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said it is not the proper time yet to discuss charter change in his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“It’s better left in conferences that are not allowed to be open to the public,” Duterte said in a press conference after his SONA.

Duterte said several complaints convinced him that talks on charter change can be discussed in another occasion.

Kasi ‘pag isang provision to one another, magulo eh. Sa isang provision lang if it’s (Because if it’s one provision to another, it’s messy. In one provision) --- there are a lot of complaints. A lot of pros and cons. Mahilo ka (You’ll get dizzy),” Duterte said.

He said it is better for Congress to discuss charter change among themselves.

“Present it to the public ano na,yung package na --- (when the package is) completed,” Duterte said.

The President, however, said he will still push for a shift to a federal system of government.

“Yes, but I said there are things which I cannot mention now. Federalism is good but there are certain things that you have to be very clear,” Duterte said.

Should the Constitution be amended, it must be clear on the authority given to the local and governments.

“It must be something like, the president --- not I. I suppose that it would come after me. But it has to have a strong president to put together the country,” Duterte said.

He said a federal system of government is “a very loose structure” where local officials have “a lot of power.”

“Kasi ang (Because) federal, it’s a very loose structure na eh. One has a lot of power locally,” Duterte said.

“So the president will have to have to [devise?] it until such time that we have perfected it, there has to be a strong president with the same powers now,” he added.

He admitted that federalism may be passed after his term ends in 2022.

“Pero ako (But me), I’m out of it because I think that it will pass beyond my time,” Duterte said.

On June 26, Duterte said he will no longer insist on pushing for federalism but would still prefer to make “changes” in the country’s charter.

“If you do not want federalism, fine. But change the Constitution, that would really change this nation,” Duterte said in his speech.

He reiterated the need for a change in the Constitution even if it is a shift into a federal system of government or not. (PNA)