PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not in favor of including an anti-political dynasty provision in a new constitution that will allow the country to shift to a federal system of government.
Duterte, whose children are elected officials in his home city of Davao, said such a measure would restrict people’s choices.
“I cannot fathom about dynasty because it’s not…it’s a restriction. The anti-dynasty (law) is a restriction of the freedom of an individual,” Duterte said during the ruling PDP-Laban party’s Christmas benefit dinner for Marawi City held in Pasay City late Wednesday.
“It’s the people’s choice who should be their leaders. Sovereignty is something very sacred. It can only be placed in the hands of people,” Duterte said.
“He (elected official) could be the son of a b***h, but if he is the choice of the people, we can’t do anything about it,” he added.
Duterte’s daughter, Sara, is the Davao City mayor. His son, Paolo, is Davao City’s vice mayor. The President was Davao City mayor for three decades before being elected President in May 2016.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque also said a federal government was not aimed at ending political dynasties, but toward improving the local government units’ access to the country’s resources.
“The sad reality is, whether be it unitary or federal, the rich tend to be elected. But what we are pushing now is for a system of government where local governments will have access to resources because they are in the best position to address the needs of their local constituencies,” Roque said.
Roque’s position was a pivot from his stance in July 2016 or less than a month after he was elected to Congress. At that time, Roque said changing the constitution to institute a federal government would not help the poor.
“I’m a convert. I’ve had a case pending in the Supreme Court for the longest time, the right of Palawan to its just share of 40 percent gross of the Malampaya [natural gas field]profits, Malampaya revenues. Under a federal form of government, there would be no debate that local governments would be entitled to revenues derived from natural resources found in their area,” Roque said.
“So to me, that’s the biggest argument for federalism because under the existing Local Government Code, although it provides for local autonomy and fiscal autonomy, it’s simply is not implemented,” Roque added.