ConCom chair Puno: Duterte ‘first casualty’ of anti-dynasty provision under federalism

President Rodrigo R. Duterte will be the “first casualty” of the ban on political dynasties under the proposed Federal Constitution being drafted by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to review the 1987 Constitution.

Former Chief Justice and ConCom Chairman Reynato Puno made this remark during the 1st National Forum and Public Consultation entitled “Revisiting the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines”, stressing that there was no way for Duterte to extend his term or for any of his immediate relatives to succeed him.

Speaking before lawyers at the Manila Hotel, Puno pointed out that although the ConCom failed to vote unanimously on many issues, the prohibition on political dynasties was not one of them.

“The first casualty [in the regulation of political dynasties], if I may use that word, is no less President Duterte himself and his family,” he said. “For under this [regulated] ban, the President cannot be succeeded in office by any member of his family within his second consanguinity or affinity.”

Puno also emphasized that Duterte himself said in media reports that he respected the ConCom move to regulate political dynasties.

“The President said, in black and white, that he has no complaint about the ban on succession,” he said. “Let us therefore diminish the unfounded thought that the move to change the ‘87 Constitution is a mere sophisticated ploy to prolong the term of the incumbent President.”

On March 12, the ConCom voted to prohibit political dynasties to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, which means that an incumbent official’s parents, children, spouse, grandparents, siblings, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and brothers- and sisters-in-law cannot run for office simultaneously or succeed each other in office.

Puno, in an earlier press conference, assured that there will be no holdover provision under the proposed Federal Constitution.

“By the time we have shifted to a federal form of government, a new president will be voted,” he said.

Puno pointed out that the limits under the 1987 Constitution will still be “binding.”

He also assured that the transition period to a federal form of government will not go beyond 2022.

“The transition period will not go beyond 2022, that’s the (end of the) term of President Duterte,” Puno said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that although Duterte did not consider political dynasties as bad per se, the Palace respected and deferred to the wisdom of the ConCom.

Duterte’s daughter, Sara, is the incumbent Davao City Mayor while his son, Paolo served as vice mayor.

Before winning in the May 2016 elections, Duterte was mayor of Davao City for more than 20 years. PNA