Extending Noynoy’s term? Unlikely, says retired judge

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Friday, August 22, 2014


ALLIES of President Benigno Aquino III will unlikely succeed in their bid to extend his term.

“I’m sure a lot of civil society groups will oppose, including the church,” said retired Cebu City judge Meinrado Paredes.

Paredes, the former Regional Trial Court Branch 13 presiding judge, is one of those in the legal profession who are against the proposal to give Aquino a second term by rewriting of the Constitution.

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Apart from a very costly proceeding to change some provisions of the Constitution, Paredes also said heeding the suggestion of Aquino’s allies may only tarnish his parents’ legacy.

The Supreme Court (SC), in a 1997 decision, frowned on the proposal to amend the Constitution to lift the term limits of elective officials.

In an en banc decision written by retired chief justice Hilario Davide, the SC dismissed the petition known as “people’s initiative” to amend the Constitution for this purpose.

It permanently enjoined the Commission on Elections from giving due course to any petition for an initiative on amendments on the Constitution until “a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.”

/b>Jesus Delfin’s case

The case stemmed from the petition that lawyer Jesus Delfin filed on Dec. 6, 1996 before the Comelec.”

Among the groups that opposed the petition was the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

It said the petition did not have the required number of signatures.

The petition was seeking a revision of the Constitution, which can be proposed only by Congress or a constitutional convention.

In the decision, the SC pointed out that people are not accorded the power to “directly propose, enact, approve, or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution” through the system of initiative.  They can only do so with respect to “laws, ordinances, or resolutions.”

It ruled that Comelec Resolution 2300, which prescribes rules and regulations on the conduct of initiative on amendments to the Constitution, is void.

The Comelec also acted without jurisdiction with grave abuse of discretion when it entertained Delfin’s petition, the SC ruled.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 22, 2014.

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