Manila Standard : Rody to BBM: Initiate Charter change, drop party-list system

By Vito Barcelo | Manila Standard

President Rodrigo Duterte urged his successor to initiate Constitutional amendments and abolish the party-list system in the country’s legislature.

The 77-year-old Duterte encouraged the country’s next leader—presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., 13 years his junior—to make an initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution as soon as he assumes the presidency on June 30.

Duterte, in a prerecorded Talk to the People aired Thursday morning, said there was “really a demand of the moment” to introduce amendments to the Constitution.

He made the call as he reiterated the need to make changes in the country’s charter, be it a shift from the presidential to a federal form of government or whatever.

Addressing his successor, Duterte said “It should be done now. Because if you do that before your term ends, they would say you want to change some provisions in the Constitution to allow you to run (again).”

Duterte told his successor to propose the change in the Constitution as early as possible to avoid speculations that the move was meant to extend the Charter-mandated six-year term with no re-election.

“That’s what they did to me, saying I want that because I want another term. My golly, it’s all yours. But the new administration must do that because that’s necessary,” he said.

Duterte also hoped his successor would reconsider the abolition of the party-list system.

This as he reiterated that some party-list groups serve as legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)

“I recommend the abolition of the party-list [system]. They are being used. Although they are very few, they still participate in the government that they wish to destroy. That is what is funny, they are in the government, they participate in the governance process and yet they — what they really want is to destroy that government at palitan nila ng kanila and replace it with their allies,” he said.

Duterte earlier warned the Filipinos against the Kabataan, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Gabriela party-list groups, or the so-called “KABAG” serving as legal fronts of the CPP.

The CPP-New People’s Army is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated CPP-NPA’s political wing, National Democratic Front, as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

Meanwhile, Duterte appealed to the newly elected local officials not to violate the people’s trust by staying away from the illegal drug trade.

“I hope that you will not be involved in this..I am not just warning you because I am already stepping down,” Duterte said.

“All I want is, the mayors to be true to — the governors and all of the officials, especially those elected by the people — do not violate the trust that the people have reposed on us particularly into drugs.”

Tackling the proliferation of illicit narcotics is an uphill battle for the government considering the huge amount of money involved, he said.

“It’s difficult. Before it was in millions but now, billions. It has to be a war,” Duterte said.