Roxas’ pitch: A 2nd term for Aquino to continue reforms | Inquirer News

Roxas’ pitch: A 2nd term for Aquino to continue reforms

President Aquino whispers something to his losing running mate and now Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas during an event in Malacañang. Roxas’ proposal for Aquino to seek another term has run into a wall of resistance from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance and a number of senators. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The proposal of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for President Aquino to seek another term has run into a wall of resistance from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and a number of senators.

“If there is an overwhelming clamor for the President to run again, he will do it through an election and not through an extension (of his term). And as you know, that will require a change in the Constitution,” Roxas said in a text message to the Inquirer.


He said there was a clamor for another term for Aquino.

Roxas said the possibility of the President seeking another term was strictly his view and this topic was not discussed with the President or with other members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).


“As you know, as a matter of principle, the President listens to the voice of his bosses. He listens to the voice of his bosses [the people],” Roxas said, referring to the President’s decision to run for President just eight months before the May 2010 elections.

Roxas’ statement came a day after Vice President Binay hinted that it was possible the LP would adopt him as a guest candidate in 2016.

“Many have voiced their support for another term for P-Noy and we are thankful for the many people who prefer another term. We see this as support for continuance of ‘daang matuwid’ [straight path governance],” Roxas said.

A social media campaign called “One More Term: Re-Elect P-Noy for 2016” recently flooded pages on Facebook and Twitter, supposedly emanating from Aquino’s official Facebook account, which has more than 4 million followers, said Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, also UNA secretary general.

Tiangco assailed Roxas for “pushing” Aquino to violate the Constitution by seeking another term.

What is he thinking?

“What is Mar Roxas thinking that he wants to put Mr. Aquino in harm’s way? Mar is tempting [the President] to extend his term fully aware that it is a clear violation of the Constitution,” said Tiangco, who is closely allied with Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has announced he will run for President in 2016.


The 1987 Constitution bars a President, who has a six-year term, from seeking reelection.

“If Mar is really sincere in helping [Mr. Aquino], then he would never push the President to doing any illegal act. But at the rate its going, allies in the Liberal Party have given the President proscribed and wrongful advice. Can’t believe these people ignore the Constitution,” Tiangco said.

Campaign for successor

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said the better course of action to continue the administration’s programs was to campaign for the election of a successor who shared the same goals, and not to amend the Constitution to prolong Aquino’s term.

“We who believe in the straight path should campaign very hard to ensure the victory of someone who will continue on the straight path,” Pimentel said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said any term extension would require Charter change (Cha-cha), an idea that the President was averse to.

The Senate itself has no plans of amending the Constitution, he said.

Drilon said the Senate was waiting for the developments in the House of Representatives, which is tackling a measure to amend the economic provisions of the Charter. But he has not heard of any other proposal to tinker with the provisions on term limits.

Counting down days

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino, the President’s first cousin, said the Chief Executive himself had indicated that he was counting down the days to the end of his term.

“If we want to help the President, let’s just allow him to do the reforms in the last year and a half of his term, and after this ends, let’s wish him the best,” he told reporters.

Talk of term extension was also moot, since the Constitution prohibits a second term, he said.

In a live interview on Tuesday over cable station ANC, Roxas said he wanted the President to extend his term and for him to continue his straight path governance.

Roxas as running mate

The administration camp is abuzz over Aquino taking another shot at a new term in 2016 with Roxas as his running mate like in 2010.

But Roxas was quiet on whether he would run for Vice President in an LP ticket bannered by Aquino.

An LP lawmaker, who declined to be identified for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said an Aquino-Roxas ticket would “satisfy” the growing clamor for another six-year term for the President.

The LP source said plans were afoot to tweak bills in Congress seeking to amend solely the economic provisions of the Constitution. The Constitution bars the President from seeking reelection.


But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the LP leader in the House and the main author of the Charter change bill that only sought to lift equity limits on foreign ownership, said he had yet to receive any request to expand his Cha-cha bill to include the term extension of the President.

“That’s really speculative, haven’t heard of it myself,” Belmonte said.

Sen. Sonny Angara said he understood why people would want Aquino to stay longer in office, but the Constitution must be respected.

Angara said the timing of Charter change proposals should also be considered, and it might be better to discuss this under different circumstances.

“It’s a Constitution. You’re legislating for future generations and not just present circumstances,” he said.

Strengthen institutions

Sen. Grace Poe said that while many people trusted Aquino and like his leadership, institutions must be strengthened.

She believed Aquino would step down and make way for his successor.

Sen. Nancy Binay said there may not be enough time for Congress to effect any Charter change to allow the extension of the President’s term, considering the many things on its plate, including the budget bill and the draft of the proposed Bangsamoro basic law.

Two four-year terms

But Binay said she was open to the idea of studying term extensions, though it may not be the right time now. One idea that could be considered is giving the President two four-year terms instead of one six-year term, which could be too short, she said.

Binay also said there were other provisions of the Constitution, other than term limits, that should be considered first for amendment.

It would be better to discuss which of these should be tackled first before beginning serious moves to amend the Charter, she said.

Improve services

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said the administration could strengthen its 2016 standard-bearer if it would step up efforts to improve its services to the people.

If the administration is able to show concrete improvements that the people can feel, then the rise in the popularity of whoever will be the LP’s standard-bearer would follow suit, said Cayetano, who belongs to the Nacionalista Party.

“The LP has an asset that others do not have: They are in power. So if they improve the performance of the MRT, address ‘Yolanda’ properly, fix what needs fixing in the airport, and prepare well for typhoons, believe me, their candidate would be strengthened,” he said.

Cayetano made the statements as he expressed misgivings about the possibility of the LP adopting Vice President Binay, who belongs to the rival UNA, as its standard bearer.

He said the administration should choose to endorse a candidate not on the basis of popularity, but on the basis of shared principles.


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