The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte vows to step down once new Constitution in place

October 23, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Sunday his promise not to perpetuate to power, similar to what late dictator Ferdinand Marcos did, with his move to amend the Constitution.

Duterte said he was making the pledge while inside the Church and at the wake of Cebu Archibishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in Cebu City.

"I’ll try to restructure the setup. The government can’t say that I’m doing it for my interests because I don’t need that," he said in local dialect but was translated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

"As a matter of fact, if we are able to revise our Constitution, just to avoid conflict, I'm prepared to step down immediately," he said.

Duterte noted that the Philippines has been under the unitary type of goverment wherein "Manila's scope of control is extreme," causing unfair distribution of resources in other areas, particularly Mindanao.

This could have caused the pains of the Muslims in southern Philippines, he said.

"Everything is pooled here in Manila, where there are corrupt officials. That’s why they are hurt because so little is returned to us...that’s why now I’m not choosing sides. If it’s about distribution, it has to be fair and equal. It’s not about politics where you say I lost in this area and I won in the other. It’s just about fair distribution," he said.

"The problem is the whole Philippines. But what I can assure you tonight is, so that no one will be able to say that I just want to stay in the position for long just like Marcos. I’m telling you, I give you my word to this, in the House of God. We can’t lie here. And maybe right now His Eminence is listening," he stressed.

The President said that once a new Constitution is put in place, he would see to it that it would be really implemented and placed well.

"I'll make sure of it. I will just ask for a few months then I will retire as President," he said.

"It could come maybe next year or the third year. But that’s what I can guarantee you to avoid issue that I'm staying longer in my position as a President. It's because of trying to save the country from turmoil and bloodshed. That is my only concern," Duterte said.

Duterte has been pushing for a federal government.

He again warned that if a federal set up would not push through, the Muslim people might not accept it.

"I don't know what will be the solution to this anymore. I do not want to think of the worst but we should be prepared for everything that will come," he said.

Meanwhile, in the same speech, Duterte said he would issue an executive order declaring a holiday in Cebu on the day of the burial of Vidal. Celerina Monte/DMS