Aquino: I will step down as president in 2016

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Thursday, August 28, 2014


MANILA (Updated) -- President Benigno Aquino III said Thursday that he was looking forward to step down from his post in June 2016.

While there were people who wanted him to run again for president, the Chief Executive said that he was not a "masochist."

"Sinabi ko naman noong una akong tumakbo hindi ako masokista," he said in an interview with Bombo Radyo.

"One year and 10 months from now, palagay ko kasama ko si (Presidential Communications Operations Office) Usec. (Rey) Marfil at saka si Asec. (Jun) Delantar sa July 1, the day after bumaba tayo sa puwesto, at kakain kami ng masarap talaga tapos may streamer na nakalagay sa likod namin: kalayaan, kung hindi ho sila babalik sa gobyerno ha," Aquino jokingly said when asked about himself less than two years from now.

Aquino's recent pronouncement could finally put to rest debates about his supposed intention to seek for another term.

Different speculations cropped up when the President, in an interview with TV5 early this month, said he would listen to his bosses, referring to the Filipino people, when asked about the possibility of a term extension for him.

In the same interview, he also expressed openness to amend the Constitution.

In the Bombo Radyo interview, the President cited some instances when a number of people wanted him to continue to his post even beyond 2016.

"For instance, in the last two weeks, nagpunta ako sa Cagayan. Pinasinayaan natin itong pagbubukas nitong mga kalsada na magli-link sa Cagayan at saka sa Apayao. At doon sa crowd, may sumigaw: 'Isa pa hong termino!’. Hindi ko naman nakita kung sino mismo ang nagsalita at buti na lang hindi naman sinang-ayunan 'nung lahat ng nandoon or hindi nakisabay, parang spontaneous," he said.

He also narrated what happened when he attended a wake and a woman, whom he did not know, approached him.

"Ang sabi niya sa akin: 'Huwag po ninyong iiwan iyong Pilipinas'. Sabi ko anong ibig sabihin kaya ‘nung iiwan ko ang Pilipinas? Tapos ang ibig sabihin pala non --- tapos inulit niya: ‘Kailangan pa namin ho kayo. Marami pa hong kailangang gawin. Dapat ituloy na ho ninyo.

"So pwede ko bang sabihin naman sa kanilang hindi ba parang --- kung personal lang pwede mong sabihin sanang: Meron tayong hangganan. Ang trabaho natin hanapin iyong kapalit na magpapatuloy. Ang sinasagot naman sa akin ‘don: ‘Paano ho ninyo magagarantiyahan na itutuloy nga iyong ginawa ninyo?’," he said.

To answer such kind of questions, the President said he was conducting consultation with the different sectors.

"Tinatanong nga natin ang pinakabuod: Paano ba natin masisigurado na mapagpatuloy lahat 'nung naumpisahan natin na maging talagang permanente na," he said.
On Charter change issue, Aquino said his interest was on the so-called "judicial reach."

He questioned the apparent so much power of the Supreme Court.

"Mukhang sumobra naman yata doon sa walang pakialam lahat pinapakialamanan at iyong pagpapakialam nila parang nagiging mahirap lalong patakbuhin itong gobyernong ito," he said.

In a press conference, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the judiciary will remain independent despite the "inconvenience" caused by its decisions to some quarters.

"The repercussions are already beyond the control of the judiciary. It should not shrink from its constitutional sworn duty even if it may result in inconvenience,” she said.

She assured the public that the SC will not be cowed.

"We are an independent court and that will remain the way it is. We assure everyone that we will do our best to keep our independence until the end. I hope that by the end of the day, we can be seen as people who do not give in to pressure," Sereno said.

Aquino questioned the power of the SC after it declared unconstitutional parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a mechanism wherein the administration pooled the savings of the different agencies and allocated them for other projects to pump-prime the economy.

With the SC decision, the President is now facing three impeachment complaints, two of which were based on the unconstitutionality of DAP.

Aquino said those who filed the impeachment complaint were against him since the start of his administration.

He said that most of the complainants in the three separate impeachment complaints were members of militant groups.

"Tingnan natin sino ang nag-file (ng impeachment complaints)? Karamihan naman ho mga masasabi nating miyembro ng mga kaliwang grupo na kung nagagalit sila sa akin at kayo na ho siguro ang testigo ilang beses ba silang nagra-rally sa bahay namin sa Times (Street in Quezon City) na alam naman nating wala ako doon," he said.

"Iyon talagang masyado nila akong pine-personal," he added.

The President said these militant groups could be against him since their supporters were declining as many people are now giving their trust to the government.

The three impeachment complaints against the President were filed by militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and party-list groups Anakpawis and Bayan Muna.

While the House of Representatives' committee on justice found the three verified impeachment complaints sufficient in form, Aquino expressed belief that the complaints against him would soon be junked.

"Mahirap naman yatang maging insufficient in form dahil form nga e, para bang fill in the blanks lang iyon. Pero at the end of the day, naniniwala ako magkakaroon tayo ng katarungan diyan," he said. (SDR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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