PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday reiterated that the next president should only serve a single six-year term because it may lead to the return of dictatorship in the country.
In what appeared to be a campaign sortie for the Liberal Party held at Davao City’s SMX Convention Center, Aquino warned the public against electing a candidate who is out to prolong his stay in power.
“I think it’s wrong that we rely on one person or one group. What will happen if the person is gone? What happens if the group is gone? Is that it? That’s wrong,” Aquino said in Filipino.
He cited what happened in 1972, during the administration of former president Ferdinand Marcos when Proclamation 1081 also known as Martial Law was signed.
“He [Marcos] completed his two terms and declared martial law. Before his term ended in ’73, [Marcos] preempted it and we had Martial Law. He had plus 14 plus years in office,” Aquino said.
From Manuel L. Quezon to Marcos, Presidents under the 1935 Constitution’s provisions were elected two consecutive four-year terms.
The system ended in 1972 when Marcos declared martial law and became a one-man ruler until a civilian-military uprising ousted him in 1986.
The President said his successor must be able to implement his platform within the next six years and then pass the baton to the next leader.
Aquino has endorsed his close ally Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd as the administration’s presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
“There is someone running who is preparing for his successor. It’s good to have only one term,” Aquino said.
“You must do things that you can do then pass the baton to show that the Filipino nation can stay on the right direction,” he added.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who will be running for president in next year’s elections under the United Nationalist Alliance, earlier said that a six-year term for a good president is too short.
But Malacañang rejected it, explaining the term limitation for government officials was imposed to avoid abuse of power and dictatorship.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr in an earlier statement said, “Pinakamahalaga ‘yung nag-iisang termino ng Pangulo at kailangang marinig ang tinig ng mga Boss hinggil dito [It is important for a President to serve one (6-year) term, and it is necessary that the people’s voice be heard].”
President Aquino first floated the idea in a television interview last year, where he said he is willing to listen to the public clamor asking him to stay in power.
In a separate radio interview, however, Aquino said he is ready to celebrate the end of his term.
Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution – which was drafted and approved under the watch of Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino – limits the presidency to a single six-year term.