‘Aquino showing dictatorial streak’

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd (right) listens to a comment by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during the ceremonial distribution of modern assault rifles to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday. A total of 50, 629 5.56mm M4 assault rifles were bought from a United States-based company costing around P1.9 billion as part of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

President Benigno Aquino 3rd (right) listens to a comment by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during the ceremonial distribution of modern assault rifles to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday. A total of 50, 629 5.56mm M4 assault rifles were bought from a United States-based company costing around P1.9 billion as part of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s statement that he is open to Charter change to extend his term was met with an outcry of rejection, with lawmakers, analysts, lawyers’ groups and members of militant organizations calling it a prelude to “dictatorship” and bringing “shame” to the name of his parents who fought for democracy.

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Political analysts believe that the people will not support Aquino in his bid to extend his term of office simply because “they don’t want it.”

“He will not have the support of the people,” Ramon Casiple, a respected political analyst, told The Manila Times.

He noted that while Aquino enjoys considerable control over Congress, opposition to his plan to tinker with the Constitution will be too formidable to overcome.

“Theoretically, the ruling coalition has the time to do Cha-cha [Charter change]. But the political obstacles are formidable,” Casiple said.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Vicente Joyas explained that the “difficulty” in doing Cha-cha at this time is made all the more daunting by the fact that Aquino’s popularity has declined.

“It’s a daydream. He can’t do that now. Imagine the time and money that will be wasted if the administration will pursue Cha-cha. Where will they get the money to fund the plebiscite, for instance?” Joyas said during an interview with The Times.

“It will be very difficult. [The President] should not be thinking about it anymore and instead he should first address the many problems confronting the country like peace and order, the economy and others. One thing more, it will be a shame to his mother and father who fought martial rule,” the IBP leader added.

He was referring to the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino under whose term the 1987 Constitution was forged and late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Joyas said the very reason why Mrs. Aquino and her government instituted the existing provisions in the Charter was to prevent a repeat of a one-man rule similar to that of the late former strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

“That’s what he [Aquino] seems to be doing now,” he pointed out.

The Philippine Constitutional Association (Philconsa) shared the views of Casiple and Joyas, saying the people will “naturally vehemently oppose” any move to tinker with the Constitution for anyone’s selfish ends.

In a radio interview, Philconsa vice president for constitutional reforms Rita Linda Jimeno said the people will likely reject any move to extend the term of Aquino beyond 2016.

“It’s sad. As if he does not know that every time a President attempted to change the Charter, the public rejected it,” Jimeno said in an interview with radio station dzBB. She cited the Cha-cha attempts during the administrations of former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo, which, she noted, became highly unpopular.

“No matter how good the intention would sound, it will still be rejected. Why push for it now when he could have done that at the beginning of his term if only to [deflect]suspicions that he only wants to extend his term? The people will not accept that,” the Philconsa official added.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the President unmasked his duplicity and dictatorial tendencies when he admitted his openness to amend the Constitution.

“The duplicitous character of the Aquino administration is now very clear. We should remember that he was against Charter change when it was pushed by his allies in Congress. Now, the tune has changed,” Zarate noted.

“His political ambition is very alarming, considering his recent pronouncements that exposed his desire to control all the institutions of the government, particularly the Supreme Court,” he said.

What is even more repulsive, Zarate added, is Aquino’s tendency to become a dictator to perpetuate himself in power.

“His disdain over the previous administrations’ excessive use of power, especially during the time of Marcos that victimized his family, is something that he is repeating himself,” the lawmaker said.

Dangerous
Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, another legal expert and dean of San Beda College’s Graduate School of Law, said the President is setting a dangerous precedent especially since Aquino’s motive is to clip the powers of the High Court.

“It shows the President’s authoritarian streak when he wants to keep his actions beyond the pale of judicial review. It is when we have such a President that we need judicial review most,” the priest added.

He said the 1987 Constitution can be amended only for serious reasons, not to extend the term of the President.

“The President’s change of position, from adamant refusal to enthusiastic hospitality, [with]respect to Charter change is outrageously self-serving. The Constitution is amended only for serious reasons and extending the term of a President is not a serious reason,” Fr. Aquino pointed out.

He said even if the expanded power of the High Court on judicial review will be removed from the Constitution, the court still has the power to review since it is within the wisdom of the judiciary.

“Even if you remove the express provision of the so-called expanded power of judicial review, the Supreme Court will still have the power to review. This is the province of the judiciary, unless we are ready to change our constitutional culture of checks and balances,” the priest added.

Disrespect
The minority bloc in the Senate also rejected the proposal to amend the Constitution. Senators Nancy Binay and Joseph Victor (JV) Ejercito said any tinkering with the Charter should be limited to economic provisions.

“We should not change the Constitution and extend the term limit of public officials for the sake of an individual or a political party,” Binay said.

She noted that framers of the Constitution set a limit to terms of the President and other elected officials because they want to prevent abuse of power.

Aquino “witnessed history from the point of view of his parents. Senator Ninoy and President Cory fought a regime that believed it had the sole franchise to make the country great. He would honor what his parents stood and died for by continuing their crusade,” Binay said.

She added that by seeking a second term, Aquino would disrespect his mother.

Binay called on the people to pray for the President’s enlightenment.

Ejercito said he will block any move that will extend the term of elected officials.

“This will be a divisive issue once again and I hope the allies of the President will respect the Constitution,” he added.

Ejercito noted that Aquino’s sudden desire to extend his term shows that the Liberal Party (LP) is having difficulties in finding a presidential candidate for the 2016 elections.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, said the executive should focus on employment, wages, prices of commodities, food and peace and order.

“We must restore our bearings. The people don’t want us to talk loudly about succession. What they want is for us to work hard so that government programs meant for their benefit succeed,” Recto added.

Getting even
Jimeno and Joyas said the President’s ratings will further drop because of his sudden change of heart on Cha-cha.

“His popularity hit its lowest recently. His ‘openness’ to Cha-cha will only do him more harm than good. Expect a lower rating in the future,” Joyas said.

The two lawyers criticized Aquino for attacking the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court.

They said the power of judicial review was given to the judiciary to avoid abuse by other branches of government. Joyas as Jimeno also explained that it is for this reason that Aquino’s mother worked to institutionalize “checks and balances” in the Charter.

Joyas believes that Aquino was getting even with the High Court over the latter’s ruling declaring the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

“He could not accept the SC decision on the DAP, that’s why he’s venting his ire on the court,” he said.

But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. clarified that Aquino would listen to the sentiments of his “bosses” so that his remarks in favor of Cha-cha do not actually mean he will push for it.

“What is essential for the President is to know the sentiments of his bosses, the Filipino people. He will continue to listen to them so he will know their views on how to ensure that the reforms and transformation that he has begun will continue and will become permanent,” the Palace official said in a news briefing.

WITH REPORTER FROM JEFRY TUPAS

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13 Comments

  1. The Prez has fallen into the trap of his own folly. His choice now is either JAIL TERMS or DICTATORSHIP. (Should the FATES of DICTATORS.)

  2. KMD ( Kilusang Mayo Dos ) on

    Dictatorial Streak of B Aquino is better than Corruption and Plunder Streak. …which is already in the brain of a new president if elected.

  3. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

    This cristino who wrote a comment here is likened to the Japanese Onuda who in early 1965 was found still hiding in the mountains of Mindoro because he did not
    yet know then that World War II was already over. In short he did not know what
    was happening around him. The same thing with this cristino. I suggest you have
    to read the Supreme Court’s decision in full about the DAP and PDAP. It was
    declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In short, abnoy and abad violated the law, stupid.

  4. Noy took his oath to depend the constitution! Now he wanted to destroy this constitution he swore to protect and đepend. Is this not impeachable?
    Mr. Saguisag paging!

  5. Matuwid na daan policy of President Aquino is the only way toward progress and better future for everybody.2nd term doesnt mean dictatorial,VP-two 6 years term and senator two 6 years term why not for president.When there is a movement wanting for 2nd term the crook politicians are panicking nagpuputukan na ang almunaras nila,because their corruption business will go broke.

  6. This sitting President has transformed into a reckless wreck. I doubt if there is still an ounce of decency left in his mental capacity to govern this impoverished Land of the Thieves Philippines.
    Plain and simple this sitting Prez has developed a super-super bloated ego – and this ssb ego got pricked by the Supreme Court…and as we all know this sitting president doesn’t take a “NO” for an answer. The ILLEGAL DAP got busted – their goose is cooked!!!! And here we are, being forced fed to dance the Cha Cha, so these Band of Penoy-Drilon-Abad will get away with accountability beyond 2016…

  7. Inept and corrupt BS Aquino could daydream as much as he wants to tinker with our Constitution just so his lust for power may be satisfied. But Filipinos will not allow this greedy Pork King his wish. He is courting trouble of getting ousted before his first term is up.

    We should protect our Constitution from corrupt Abnoy and his gang of thieves whatever it takes. Just say NO to CHA CHA, NO to tinkering with our Constitution, and absolutely NO NO for giving Aquino 6 additional years as President. What he deserves is a life prison term for bribing the members of the biggest criminal syndicate in the country called Congress, for lack of transparency in disbursing public funds and for abuse of power.

  8. Sometimes, I wonder if we are using our discernment to the fullest. In my personal opinion, I”d rather gamble to extend Prez Aquino term than entrusting the next new President to run the country. With the list of traditional politicians salivating again to gain power and to wreck havoc to the economic gains that was put in place, I am not surprise we will go back to the old days. Look who are those presidentiables in waiting. Open your eyes wide and see their characters, their political backgrounds and family relationship. All of them are evil practitioners like womanizers, corrupts, drunkard, gambler, killers, liars and etc. Will you entrust to them the future of your children’s. If these presidentialbles cannot live in righteousness and holiness how much more when they are elevated to more powerful position in the land. Many pinoys forgot to appreciate President Aquino sacrifices. He is the only bachelor among the PH presidents. He give his time, effort and put aside love life just to fulfill what his parents desires for our country. He is only human that needs comfort and love from a woman and yet he deprived himself for the sake of our country progress and bright future of the next generations to come. Again, it is our choice to move forward or backward.

  9. armando flores on

    Aquino’s move for extended terms in malacanang is correct for their survival after 2016. He should become a dictator to easily defeat his opponents. By staying infinitely in power, he and his band of thieves can continue plundering public funds at the expense of the people and thereby prevent any prosecution. A Filipino version of a holocaust is coming!

    • Roldan Guerrero on

      LEGAL GENIUSES could become DICTATORS as a result of their ability to curve laws but never for LEGAL RETARDATES who do not even understand the Constitution.

  10. I believe on the suggestion of Sen Recto that the president should focus more on the needs of the people on matters like food, peace and order, power, job creations, food prices, etc, that way, he may still redeem himself of his many blunders lately and who knows, his political party LP will improve its image to the public.

  11. Let him try and see what happens.

    ‘Canto Boy’ talks – Mr. President

    Canto Boy talks – “Di ba buhay ka pa”.

    Similarly, Mar Roxas – “Mam Janet”; “Remember you are a Romualdez and the President is Aquino”; “Wak Wak Golf Course Talks” of Mar Roxas “Tang – – – – – – na?

    What kind of Administration Personnel talks are these?

    Any body home!