MOST Filipinos do not want President Benigno Aquino III to run for a second term in 2016 even if his allies lift term limits by amending the Constitution, a new Pulse Asia survey showed.
“Around six in 10 Filipinos (62 percent) are not in favor of President Benigno S. Aquino III running again for the presidency after his term ends in 2016 [even if] the 1987 Constitution be amended to allow for the re-election of an incumbent chief executive,” Pulse Asia added.
About the same percentage of respondents said they saw no need to amend the Constitution at present, the survey company added.
The poll, conducted from Sept. 8 to 15, showed that an even bigger majority – 70 percent – rejected Aquino’s attempts to limit the powers of the Supreme Court to review the actions of the Executive.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Palace was not surprised by the survey results but said the President would continue to survey the people on the issue.
“The President continues to listen to citizen’s expressions of their desires on the purpose of strengthening reforms and completing the transformation of society,” Coloma said.
He said public opinion surveys, such as the one conducted by Pulse Asia, are among the tools to feel the people’s pulse.
The Palace official also said that since day one, the President has made it a point to know the opinion of his “bosses” because he considers this an important element of good governance.
But Pulse Asia said support for Charter change declined substantially across all socio-economic classes and in all geographical areas since October 2010.
“Complete opposition to charter change (i.e., now and in the future) becomes more notable in the rest of Luzon and the Visayas (+19 to +22 percentage points) and in Classes ABC and D (+14 to +18 percentage points),” Pulse Asia said.
Opposition to a second term for President Aquino was highest in Luzon excluding Metro Manila, at 71 percent. In Metro Manila, it was 67 percent; in Mindanao, 52 percent; and in the Visayas, 50 percent.
Some 63 percent of respondents from Class A, B, and C households rejected a second term for the President. For class E, the poorest of the poor, the figure was 65 percent; for Class D, 61 percent.
Opposition to the President’s plan to limit the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review was seen across all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings, Pulse Asia said.
Pulse Asia’s survey showed that majority of Filipinos (61 percent) are aware of moves by Aquino’s allies to amend the 1987 Constitution with higher awareness in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.
The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said in a statement that the Pulse Asia survey showed there was no clamor for Aquino to stay in power beyond 2016.
“The clamor only exists in Aquino’s imagination and perhaps during meetings with his Cabinet,” the group said.
“The recent Pulse Asia survey shows that the public resoundingly rejects Charter change, both the self-serving political agenda, and the foreign-dictated economic agenda. Some 62 percent of survey respondents opposed a second term for Aquino. An even bigger 85 percent oppose foreign ownership of residential and industrial land. As for Aquino’s threats versus the judiciary, 70 percent of the respondents reject limiting the powers of the Supreme Court,” Bayan said.
“The question now is: will Aquino heed the writing on the wall or will he continue down this destructive path of trying to keep himself in power?”
The group also said Aquino’s ploy to use Charter change to cover up government scandals was not workin, and chided the President for his staunch defense of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisma amid allegations of misdeeds and corruption.
“Instead of Charter change, the people are demanding that Aquino and his officials are made accountable for their corruption and misdeeds,” Bayan said.
In August, Aquino said he was open to amending the Constitution to limit what he called the judiciary’s “over-reach.”
The nationwide survey interviewed 1,200 people aged 18 and up from Sept. 8 to 15. It has a ± 3 percent error margin at a 95-percent confidence level.
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