House allies downplay Aquino 2nd term
MANILA, Philippines – Two administration allies in the House of Representatives downplayed reports that President Benigno Aquino III is open to a second term.
In an interview on Monday, Marikina Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo said the President in his television interview never said that he wants another term.
The lawmaker said Aquino only said he is open to Charter change in a bid to clip the powers of the Supreme Court, accusing the latter of using its powers to “check” on the other co-equal branches of government “more often.”
This after the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the congressional pork barrel Priority Development Assistance Funds, as well as Aquino’s economic stimulus package, the Disbursement Acceleration Program at the height of controversies.
“Up to today, the President has never said that he wants another term… The context in the interview is that before he’s not open to Charter change, now he is due to is experience of judicial tyranny,” Quimbo said in Filipino.
The Liberal Party lawmaker added that he has known the President as looking forward to 2016 or the end of his administration to rest.
“I think he’s been unduly burdened. We are asking so much sacrifice from him in the past four years. He has not stolen money, but until now he has been criticized by his detractors who have seen nothing of the good things the President has done,” Quimbo added in Filipino.
For his part, ally Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said the President was only joking when he said he is open to a second term.
“I doubt very much if the president intends to run. I stand by my statement na nagbibiro lang siya (that he is joking),” Bello said in an interview on Monday.
Bello said the President would instead focus his efforts on the passage of priority legislations such as the freedom of information and the Bangsamoro basic law.
“I assure you he’s not going to run and he’s going to put the effort on priority measures. Let’s give the President a chance to joke around a bit and not be too serious about this,” Bello said.
The move to amend the constitutional term limit to make Aquino eligible for reelection floated when Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice proposed filing such a measure to allow the president a second term.