Senators share mixed reactions to Aquino’s term extension

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


SENATORS expressed various reactions on the issue of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III's term extension.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday that there are no plans in the chamber to tackle charter change and term extension of Aquino.

He said that any term extension will require amendment of the Constitution and he knows that Aquino is reluctant to amend the charter.

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"Ang Cha-Cha ngayon ay ang pagbabago ng proseso sa pag-amyenda sa Saligang Batas ay nasa House of Representatives. The proposed amendments in the House is to place on the economic provision the phrase 'unless otherwise provided by law' in order to provide some flexibility in setting our economic policies. We are waiting for the action of the House on this before we take it up in the Senate. Insofar as the term extension is concerned, this is the first time I'm hearing this," Drilon, who is a staunch supporter of the Chief Executive, said

Neophyte Senator Grace Poe said that while one term is too short for a good President, she believes President Aquino will step down after his term just like her mother out of respect for the Constitution, which only allows one term and no term extension.

"Sa tingin ko, ganun din ang ating Pangulo. Sa ating Constitution ay di naman pinapayagan ang ganyan (term extension)," she said.

Opposition Senator Nancy Binay expressed surprise why the term extension issue came up, saying, "Di ko rin nga maintindihan bakit pinag-uusapan natin 'yung another term for President Aquino when we all know there's only one term allowed... Unless there is a move to change the constitution."

Although she is in favor of amending the Constitution's economic provisions, Binay said it is untimely to discuss term extension.

"Ako nga, I am open to the idea na kailangan gawing two terms na four years. Kasi sa US ganun eh. Two terms na tag-four. So parang eight years. Baka it's an option. I am not saying na iyon ang gawin. Siguro baka pwede pag-aralan. Yung six years medyo kulang," she added.

But Binay, whose father Vice President Jejomar Binay is planning to run for president in 2016, was quick to say too that this is not the right time for a charter change.

"Not yet. At this time, pag-usapan muna ng maigi kung ano nga ba yung mga dapat baguhin sa constitution kasi ang talagang pinu-push ng business sector ay yung mga economic provisions, di ba?" Binay said. "Ang dami nating dapat ayusin bago yung isyu ng charter change."

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos said it is not possible to happen as he described the move a mere "wishful thinking."

Marcos said it is very clear in the Constitution that any President will only have one term and the Constitution, he stressed, is clear in saying that it will not allow any possible extension.

Crafted in 1986 under the late President Corazon Aquino, the Constitution dictates that the president has a six-year term and barred from seeking reelection.

The son of late President Ferdinand Marcos who stayed 20 years in power, Senator Marcos said he believes that the President will not support any move to change the constitution to prolong his stay in power. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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