Panelo eyes “constitutional dictatorship” for Duterte to speed up reforms

  • Presidential legal adviser looking to expand Duterte’s current powers
  • He said revised Constitution would give president executive and legislative powers
  • He also said he believes Duterte won’t abuse his powers given his character

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential legal adviser Salvador Panelo yet again proposed giving President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers under a revised Constitution to speed up reforms.

According to Panelo, his idea of additional powers for Duterte under a new Constitution would mean both executive and legislative powers— a kind of “constitutional dictatorship”.

“What I am saying is, it’s constitutional. You revise the Constitution, give the powers to the President, the legislative and executive powers. So in a sense it’s like dictatorship because he has two powers but all of them are constitutional,” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying.

Panelo pointed out such powers would enable Duterte to hasten the reforms he has envisioned.

“Kaya ko pino-propose iyon [thats’s why I’m proposing it] because palaging nagpe-fail ang presidente natin, eh at iyon ang palaging sinasabi [it is always the reason they say (lack of power) when the president fails], ‘We need this power, we need that.’ So sabi ko di bigyan na lang natin [so let’s give it to him], so there is no more excuse not to fail,” he said.

Panelo added that there is nothing to worry about giving Duterte additional powers because he won’t be abusive given his character and integrity.

“A president who is a man of integrity beyond corruption, who has a political will and he walks his talk,” he said.

Under the current Constitution, the president may declare a state of lawlessness to call out the armed forces in quelling rebellion, invasion, and lawless violence. He may declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in cases of rebellion or invasion when the public safety requires it.

The country is currently under a state of lawlessness following a deadly bombing attack on a popular night market in Davao City.