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Draft charter could extend Duterte rule

AFPMANILA (AFP-Jiji) — The draft of a new Philippine constitution submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday would grant him new powers and a chance to extend his stay in office by up to eight years.

Under the current law Duterte will have to step down in 2022, when his six-year term is up. But the proposed shift to a federal system laid out in the draft would allow him to run for two additional terms of four years each.

“The adoption of a new constitution ... effectively results in a fresh start for all,” said a statement from the committee that crafted the draft on the president’s orders.

The draft constitution has several obstacles to clear before it can become law, including a congressional debate and a public referendum.

The latest polls — surveying around 1,200 people — show only 37 percent of Filipinos back changing the constitution while 29 percent are against it.

According to the draft the country would be divided under a federal system into 18 regions that would have a greater degree of control over their own affairs.

Duterte says the reforms would shift power away from Manila elites and help seal long-stymied peace agreements with insurgent groups fighting for greater regional autonomy.Speech

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