MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday said he respects President Benigno Aquino III’s open position on the matter of seeking another term beyond 2016.
But Binay, in a statement posted on his social media accounts, also advised Aquino to make sure the supposed voice of the people calling for a term extension are not those of vested interests.
“President Aquino has been quoted as expressing openness to listen to the people on the matter of seeking another term. He added that it does not automatically mean he will seek another term. I respect the statement of the President,” he said.
He added any national leader “would want to hear the voice of the people on issues that will have far-reaching consequences.”
On Wednesday night, Aquino told a television interview that he is keeping his options open on calls to extend his stay in power.
“Noong pinasukan ko ho ito, ang tanda ko, one term of six years. Having said that, ang mga boss ko, kailangang pakinggan din,” the President said.
Aquino uses the term “boss” to refer to his constituents. He introduced the terminology he introduced in his inaugural address upon assuming the presidency in 2010.
The 1987 Constitution allows a President to have only one six-year term.
Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that: “The President shall not be eligible for any re-election. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.”
In cautioning the President on the supposed voices he supposedly has to hear, Binay said: “What is important is that the voice he hears is an authentic and genuine voice, not one manufactured by quarters with vested interests who are driven mainly by self-preservation.”
“We also need to keep our focus on pursuing our goal of improving the lives of the people for the remainder of the President’s term and beyond,” he added
Earlier in the day, militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan warned the prospect of a term extension, along with Charter change that may limit the powers of the judiciary, make up a “recipe for dictatorship.”
The group called for a noise barrage in Manila to protest such a recipe on Friday.
Past presidents have considered Charter amendments, but faced intense public criticism for attempting to extend their term of office. Aquino, who has put in place reforms in the fiscal sector that earned the country its first investment grade rating, is likely to face similar public reaction.
Some legislators, including Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., have actively pushed for changes to the Constitution, particularly to economic provisions that capped foreign investments into the country. (MNS)