Pacquiao backs Duterte term extension, Congress abolition under federal gov't

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2018 09:12 AM | Updated as of Jul 09 2019 12:48 PM

Senator Manny Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte. File Photo

Senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday said he will not oppose the abolition of both houses of Congress and a possible term extension for President Rodrigo Duterte under a proposed federal government.

Pacquiao, who hails from Mindanao, said while he likes Duterte as a leader and supports a term extension for the long-time executive, he will leave it to the people to decide on it.

"Gusto ko siyang leader sa ating bansa. Whether ma-extend o hindi wala akong problema. Gusto kong ma-extend because of his leadership, strong leadership pero hindi naman ako ang magde-decide. Mayroon tayong Constitution na dapat sundin at dapat nating tanungin ang taongbayan," he told ANC's Headstart.

"I know Duterte well. Panatag ang loob ko sa kaniya because I know him well since before—yung pagkatao niya, dedicated siya masyado sa tao; halos yung sarili niya di na niya iniisip," he added.

The boxer-turned-legislator also said he is open to the idea of the abolition of Congress if it is done for the good of the people. Pacquiao's term as senator ends in May 2022.

"Hindi ako nag-aano sa posisyon ko. Kung magkaroon ng kung anong ikabubuti ng ating bansa, kung magkaroon man ng federalism, kung i-abolish ang Senado at ang lahat ng Congress, wala akong problema basta ikabubuti ng ating bansa," he said.

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"Wala akong problema diyan basta sa ikabubuti ng ating bansa kasi yun man lang yung purpose ko why I’m here, why I’m serving people. I’m not serving for the good of myself, of anybody, ng pamilya ko. Ang akin ay para magserbisyo sa tao, ipakita sa tao na maganda yung kalalabasan at para sa mga tao," he said.

President Duterte and all other incumbent elected officials will enjoy no term extension under the proposed federal constitution prepared by his party’s political think-tank.

Malacañang, however, said the chief executive, now 72, would not want to stay longer in office longer than 2022.