Xi ‘may’ extend his term but Duterte won’t – Palace
President Duterte will not extend his term just as China has proposed to lift Beijing’s presidential term limit, which could extend the term of President Xi Jinping, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
Sought for comment during a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said “we don’t comment on the internal affairs of our friendly neighbors.”
Xi has been president since 2013 and he would have to step down in 2023 under China’s present constitution.
But the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, where Xi is the party chief, has proposed to remove the term limits for the president.
Duterte and Xi have strengthened their ties after Manila and Beijing’s relationship have been strained by the ongoing maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
But Roque instead said Duterte would not extend his term and would step down after 2022.
“That’s a marked difference, because the President has said he wants to step down earlier if possible and will not stay one minute longer beyond 2022. He will not stay longer than 2022 is absolute. He may step down if … earlier, if the Constitution is amended,” he said.
“I speak for the President. So that maybe something that the President of China may or may not want, but as far as the President is concerned, that’s out of the question to extend his term,” he added.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III had earlier said Duterte’s term may be extended beyond 2022 if the country becomes a federal state.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said a “no-election (No-El)” scenario was possible in 2019.
But Duterte has repeatedly said that he does not want a term extension.
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