Palace not giving up on Aquino 2nd term amid poll results
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang acknowledged the results of a Pulse Asia survey showing a majority of Filipinos against a term extension for President Benigno Aquino III, but were apparently not enough to make it give up on the idea.
Reacting to the survey on Thursday, October 2, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the Aquino administration will consider the survey results but this is only one factor in its decision-making. He said monitoring public sentiment is a continuous process.
“Ang mga public opinion surveys na tulad [nito] ay isa sa maraming paraan sa pagtaya at pagturing sa pangkalahatang pagtanggap ng mamamayan sa paglilingkod ng administrasyon (Public opinion surveys like this are one of many ways of vetting and validating public approval of the service rendered by the administration),” he said.
He added, “We take the position that the voice of the people ought to be heard; the voice of the people ought to be listened to as a basis for decision-making.”
Despite repeated questioning however, Coloma refused to categorically say that the President will no longer seek re-election, and insisted that Aquino's priority is to “continue the reforms and to ensure the changes will be long-term and not temporary.”
“Ang layunin ng Pangulo ay malaman sa lahat ng pagkakataon kung ano ang saloobin at tinig ng mga mamamayan at para naman makatugon sa tamang paraan ng kanyang administrasyon, lalo na sa aspeto ng pagpapahusay ng pamamalakad o ‘yung good governance, at ‘yung pagpapatupad ng mga reporma,” he said.
(The goal of the President is to know, at all times, the opinions and sentiments of the people so that the administration can respond accordingly, especially in the aspect of improved leadership or good governance, and the fulfilment of reforms.)
Under the current Constitution, a president is prohibited to seek another term after a single 6-year term. In August, Aquino surprised the public when he said he was open to the possibility of amending the Constitution and to serve another term if the people willed it.
On Thursday, Pulse Asia released the results of a survey showing that 6 in 10 Filipinos are not in favor of a second term for Aquino. The results come just two days after full-page pairs ads filled newspapers pushing for Aquino to run again, supposedly from a group called More2Come. Malacañang has denied a hand in the ads.
Coloma said the administration was not surprised by the results because it did not have any “preconceived idea” about the people’s thoughts on a possible second term.
Ironically, Coloma, in earlier briefings, insisted there was much support for the President according to their own monitoring.
“Ang mahalaga po kasi sa ating administrasyon ay ‘yung patuloy na pagpupulso sa mga mamamayan at ang kanilang mga saloobin kaya’t hindi maaaring ikagulat o ikabahala lahat ‘nung mga klaseng feedback na matatanggap,” he said.
(What’s important for our administration is to continuously get the pulse of our countrymen and their sentiments, so we won't be surprised or worried about all types of feedback we receive.)
“It is considered our responsibility to monitor and to acknowledge lahat po ng klase ng feedback na maaaring makuha mula sa sambayanan, at hindi makakatulong kung mayroon po kaming preconceived idea na dahil hindi ‘yon natupad ay magugulat kami.”
(It is considered our responsibility to monitor and acknowledge all types of feedback we can get from the people, and it won’t help if we will have a preconceived idea that if not enforced, will surprise us.)
Coloma also said Malacañang would not stop its Congress allies seeking constitutional amendments for whatever reason – like amendments in economic provisions – even if the survey showed Filipinos against tinkering with the country’s fundamental law at this time. He said the executive “respects the process of Congress.”
Asked at which point Aquino will decide on his next move, Coloma said “there is no deadline” since the monitoring is “daily, 24/7.”
Aquino himself has hinted on ending his term in 2016, but neither has he completely shut down the idea. He has yet to endorse a successor, although Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is the presumed standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party for 2016.
Roxas continues to trail behind Vice President Jejomar Binay in the latest surveys, with 13% saying they will vote for him, compared to Binay’s 31%. – Rappler.com