Revilla: Palace, allies out to lift term limits
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr on Thursday, March 13, accused the Aquino administration of plotting with its Congress allies to lift term limits in the 1987 Constitution – a move that, under previous administrations, the President had opposed.
Revilla, who did not name his source, claimed that the administration and its allies are allegedly pursuing the move because of the "weakness" of their potential candidates in the 2016 elections.
The senator said in Filipino he was told by his source that "this administration is planning to further strengthen the Executive, especially in terms of funds."
"Sinabi rin ng source natin na ito, na balak din nilang galawin ang term limits para masiguro ang kanilang pamamayagpag beyond 2016. Nakikita raw nila kasi ang kahinaan ng kanilang mga magiging kandidato kaya kailangan nilang gumawa ng ibang paraan,” the senator said.
(My source also said that they also plan to tinker with term limits to ensure that they'll remain in power beyond 2016. They can see the weakness of their potential candidates [in the 2016 elections] so they have to find another way.)
Revilla is reportedly eyeing higher office in 2016, but said in public that he has not made up his mind about it. He has repeatedly accused the Aquino administration of political harassment as he was seen as a potential threat to its standard bearer in the next national polls.
In January, Revilla delivered a privilege speech lambasting Aquino and his party mates, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, for allegedly straying from the administration's vaunted "daang matuwid" (straight and narrow path).
Revilla is facing plunder charges for allegedly conniving with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in funneling his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her fake non-governmental organizations, in exchange for kickbacks.
The senator said while he was open to limiting constitutional amendments to economic provisions, as proposed in the House of Representatives and by some senators, he was wary of the plan because of the information that he had received.
He said his source alleged that the proposals to amend the Constitution is meant to cover up the plan to amend political provisions, including term limits and the definition of power of the 3 co-equal branches of government.
“Bukas naman tayo na pag-usapan ang ilang probisyon ng Saligang Batas. Pero hindi dapat galawin ang mga political provision na malinaw na ang kasalukuyang administrayon at mga kaalyado lang nito ang makikinabang,” Revilla said.
(I am open to discussions on several provisions of the Constitution. But the political provisions should not be touched. It is clear that only the current administration and its allies will benefit from this.)
The senator also accused Malacanang of "double talk" when it publicly stated that it would not get involved in charter change discussions in Congress. President Benigno Aquino III has consistently said that he was not in favor of constitutional amendments during his term as the economy has performed well under the current Constitution.
“Sabi nila wala silang kinalaman sa cha-cha, pero hinahayaan naman nila ang mga kaalyado nila na umalagwa. Tandaan natin, nang maghugas kamay si Pilato, parang siya na rin ang nagpapako kay Kristo sa krus,” Revilla said.
(They say they have nothing to do with cha-cha, but they let their allies move forward. Let us remember, when Pilate washed his hands, it was as if he was the one who nailed Christ to the cross.) – Rappler.com