6 more years as president? ‘Aquino to listen to his bosses’
MANILA, Philippines – After years of thumbing down moves in Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution, the Aquino administration is now saying that calls for President Benigno Aquino III to seek a second term – which would require charter change – may depend on the wishes of his “bosses.”
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the statement at a news briefing, in response to the pronouncement of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the expected standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2016 polls, that Aquino should have a second term so he can continue his reforms.
Lacierda said “many” others have voiced the same sentiment, and that there is even a Facebook page devoted to the issue. He was apparently referring to the “One More Term for PNoy” Facebook page, which has garnered over a thousand likes since its creation on June 24, 2014.
The Palace official also said there are also those who have advised the President against it, while the chief executive himself has stated his own position against constitutional amendments.
Under the Constitution, the president can only be elected once to a single 6-year term.
Lacierda said, however, that Aquino would not be deaf to the sentiments of the Filipino people he had pledged to listen to.
“The President has stated his preference…but, of course, he will consider the voice of the people, the voice of his bosses…. The President is sensitive to the voice of his bosses. So let’s just wait for that,” he said.
He said Malacañang is “very thankful of the support and the expression of…the preference for another term.”
He clarified, however, that there are “no discussions” in the administration to pursue the bid.
Aquino against charter change but…
Later on, however, Lacierda clarified that he was just stating what he knows. “As a matter of principle, the President has always said, ‘I listen to…my bosses.’ But you also know the position taken by the President when it comes to charter change.”
“Many people have come to us and expressed the sentiment of their preference for another term. But, again, this is not something that we have discussed seriously, knowing fully well his stand on charter change,” he said.
Aquino has repeatedly brushed aside calls to amend even just the economic provisions of the Constitution, citing the country’s improved economic growth under the 1987 Charter. (READ: Aquino still not open to Charter change)
The current Constitution was drafted and ratified during the presidency of his mother, Corazon Aquino. Their family and loyal allies have since opposed attempts to amend any of its provisions under succeeding presidents.
Responding to questions, Lacierda said calls for Aquino to seek a second term is not linked to the observation that the Liberal Party standard bearer – said to be Roxas – would lose to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has been named by independent pollsters as the runaway winner in the presidential race if elections were held today.
He also said the administration would not be distracted by the issue in its last two years in office.
While Aquino's supporters have repeatedly expressed their wish for the President to serve longer, it was the first time for a Cabinet official – and a senior party mate at that – to say it in public.
The statement was made at a time when Aquino’s approval and trust ratings are at their lowest since he took office in 2010, following the uproar over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Roxas’ pronouncement came a few days after presidential sister and actress Kris Aquino urged her brother’s supporters to be more vocal about their appreciation of the President’s reform agenda, to boost his morale. (READ: Kris Aquino asks people to support, pray for PNoy) – Rappler.com