Official: Duterte wants term cut if Philippines goes federal

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte salutes during a wreath-laying ceremony at the 71st Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AP)
Updated 09 July 2018
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Official: Duterte wants term cut if Philippines goes federal

  • There has been speculation that the new constitution is designed to allow Duterte to extend his six-year term beyond 2022

MANILA: The Philippine president’s spokesman says he wants a draft of a new constitution shifting the country into a federal system to require the election of a new leader before that change to cut short his presidency.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says a committee, which submitted the 114-page draft federal constitution to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, agreed to his request and would rewrite a provision. There has been speculation that the new constitution is designed to allow Duterte to extend his six-year term beyond 2022.
Roque quoted Duterte as saying, “It’s to remove all suspicions and I am tired. Ready to give it to somebody else.”
Roque said Duterte is ready to step down as early as next year if the overhaul of the country’s political system is approved.


Mexican president-elect slashes his own salary

Mexican President-elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 min 35 sec ago
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Mexican president-elect slashes his own salary

  • Mexico ranks 135 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, with higher numbers indicating higher levels of corruption
  • Lopez Obrador said he’d like to reduce his salary even further

MEXICO CITY: Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Sunday he plans to earn less than half of what his predecessor makes when he takes office in December as part of an austerity push in government.
“What we want is for the budget to reach everybody,” he told reporters in front of his campaign headquarters.
Glancing at a piece of paper with numbers on it, Lopez Obrador said he will take home 108,000 pesos a month, which is $5,707 at current exchange rates, and that no public official will be able to earn more than the president during his six-year term. The transition team calculates that current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto makes 270,000 pesos a month.
Lopez Obrador said he’d like to reduce his salary even further, but that he doesn’t want to cause resentment among future Cabinet members who are in some cases leaving private sector positions and academic posts that pay more than the new ceiling for public officials.
He reiterated campaign promises to cut back on taxpayer funded perks for high-level government officials, such as chauffeurs, bodyguards and private medical insurance. The official presidential residence will become a cultural center and ex-presidents will no longer receive pensions, he said.
At the same time, he doubled down on pledges to stem corruption. Mexico ranks 135 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, with higher numbers indicating higher levels of corruption.
Public officials will have to disclose their assets, he said, and corruption will be considered a serious offense.
Supporters gathered beyond the gates cheered the proposals.
“This is what we need,” said Josefina Arciniega, 57, who earns 12,000 pesos a month as an administrative assistant. “We are fed up.”
Arciniega said she’s tired of low-level public servants asking for bribes and of watching high-ranking officials living in luxury while people like her struggle to pay the bills.
Orlando Alvarado, a chemical engineer standing next to Arciniega, called Lopez Obrador’s proposed presidential salary a dignified wage.
“A lot of Mexican professionals don’t even make 6,000 pesos a month. I’m talking about accountants and doctors,” he said.