Drilon: 'No time' to tackle Aquino's 2nd term
MANILA, Philippines – A leader of President Benigno Aquino III's political party, Senate President Franklin Drilon, said senators have “no time,” at least in 2014, to discuss the possibility amending the Constitution to allow Aquino to seek a second term.
In an interview with radio station dzRH, Drilon explained on Wednesday, September 17, that the Senate will have to tackle 3 major pieces of legislation by the end of 2014.
“Kaya hindi ko po nakikita iyan, at wala pong panahon para diyan,” Drilon said. (So I cannot see that coming, and we don't have time for that.)
Drilon, vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), identified the following as the major proposals that the Senate needs to tackle soon:
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which both the Senate and House of Representatives aim to pass by March
The proposed emergency powers for Aquino, which the Senate expects to address by November, to curb an expected power shortage by 2015
The proposed national budget for 2015, which the Senate will likely discuss until December
These 3 proposed measures “will occupy the calendar of the Senate,” Drilon said.
The Senate President made this statement after Aquino on Monday, September 15, said it is possible for him to seek a second term even if it is banned by the Constitution.
House Speaker vs Aquino's 2nd term
Aquino said, “'Di ba may kasabihan tayo: 'Pag gusto, walang imposible; 'pag ayaw, walang posible'?” (Don't we have a saying: "If you want it, nothing's impossible; if you don't, nothing is possible"?)
“So if the vast majority think that this is the route that has to be taken, then there will be a way, based on the Constitution, to afford that opportunity,” he said.
Aquino's critics and even a number of allies, such as Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, however, have thumbed down Aquino's proposal to give him a second term.
Even before Aquino proposed this, Drilon had also dismissed changing the charter's political provisions, which include the president's term limit.
He clarified that the LP itself has no stand on Aquino's proposal.
Criticisms of the proposal stem from the Philippines' experience under dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, and was overthrown after the People Power Revolution that put Aquino's mother, Corazon, in power. The Philippines' current Constitution, drafted under Mrs Aquino, prohibits a president from seeking reelection to avoid an extended rule like Marcos'. – Rappler.com