MALACAÑANG on Wednesday chided the people speculating on whether President Aquino will embark on Charter change to seek a second term, even as a constitutionalist on Tuesday warned “that may be his undoing” if he pushes it.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the people speculating on Aquino’s next move were “speaking ahead of any action taken by the President.”
“The President has, again, not made any moves. He’s just in the consultation stage so let’s just wait for the decision of the President,” he said.
“We have not moved an inch away from consultation. So don’t worry about all these people saying the sky is falling. It’s not. We’re still consulting.”
Lacierda said Aquino was just being honest about his views on the Constitution and had not gone beyond that.
So whoever likes to keep this issue alive, there’s a bad Filipino word for that: SS,” Lacierda said.
“It’s not us who’s doing that. We’re focused on the problems of the country. And so those people who are doing that thing, you’re just so caught up with 2016. I mean, come on, give it a rest. We’re still two years away from 2016.”
Jesuit priest Joaquin Bernas, one of the drafters of the 1987 Constitution, had said the reason behind the prohibition on the reelection of a President was to get rid of the 1973 Constitution’s dictatorial provisions.
“[It was] to prevent a person from perpetuating himself in power. That’s basically it,” Bernas said.
He said the 1987 Constitution, which was passed during the term of Aquino’s mother Corazon Aquino, restricts a President to a single term of six years to prevent a repeat of the 20-year regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
“That’s why the move now to have PNoy reelected is very much against the spirit of the ConCom, very much against Cory herself,” Bernas said.
He said it could be Aquino’s undoing if he tried to amend the Constitution to seek a second term and pushed it.
“Six years is long enough,” he said.
“As they say, four years is short for a good president but six is long for a bad President.”
Bernas said if he were to give an advice to Aquino on the matter, he would tell him to take a rest and to give other people a chance to run for President.
“Pahinga ka na [Take a rest]. There are other good people,” he said and then added tongue in cheek: “Give Miriam [Santiago] naman a chance.”
Santiago on Wednesday said she would run for President in 2016 if there there were “like-minded” supporters led by Bernas.
She said she had licked cancer and “I’m actually thinking of several career options,” adding by 2016 she would be disqualified to seen another term as a senator.
Last June, doctors said Santiago had a stage-4 lung cancer and put her in medication for six weeks. And on Aug. 12 St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City said the tumor in her left lung had regressed, meaning she had been cured.
“I’m not going to be coy,” Santiago said.
“Society leaders have urged me to seek the presidency. I can rise to the occasion, although I was following the other sign posts on the road to recovery.”
Bernas on Tuesday also warned that clipping the powers of the Supreme Court would be “very dangerous.”
Aquino has said he is considering constitutional changes to address what he calls the Judiciary’s “overreach.” He made that statement after the high court declared portions of his Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional.
“Weakening the Supreme Court, I think, would be very dangerous. That would be very dangerous,” Bernas said.
“Enabling the President to control members of the Supreme Court, to certain extent, happened under Marcos. I think we should keep the Supreme Court independent.”
Bernas said he does not see any “overreach” on the part of the high court on its ruling on the controversial DAP.
The high court merely “followed the letter of the law” saying the Executive can only use and transfer money to other agencies within the same branch if this is in the form of savings and is appropriated under the General Appropriations Act.
“I think Aquino will regret that he said that [move to clip the high court’s powers],” Bernas said.
“He can’t do it; he cannot succeed. I don’t think he will get support.”
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