‘I cannot disregard the opinion of our people’
President Benigno Aquino 3rd has once again given strong indications that he has not cast aside suggestions that he run for a second term, saying, “I cannot disregard the opinion of
Addressing Cabinet members and congressional allies at what was described as an “agenda-setting” meeting at Malacañang on Friday, the President continued to be coy about his political plans after his term ends in 2016.
“Some people have said it is my obligation to look for my successor and prepare him. There are some people who said that I should be the one to continue leading the country. I cannot disregard the opinion of our people,” he said.
But Aquino also shot down speculation about his running for a second term, refusing to name his choice of successor.
Trying to brush aside speculation as to who the likely choice would be, the President said, “I hope it isn’t me.”
The question that should be asked, according to him, is not who should continue the reforms he started, because “there is no other answer to that question but that it should be all of us who would continue the reforms.”
Aquino urged his allies to work to ensure that whoever succeeds him in 2016 “will continue our straight path.”
“When there are many who continue to doubt, let us be the first to approach them, and explain. When we are being rained upon by lies, let us fight this with truth and justice. It is only right for us to take the lead in spreading the news of our successes. If we shy away from this, the straight path will indeed be drowned by noise and lies,” he said, speaking in Filipino.
The President lashed at the critics of his administration’s programs.
“The problem is: They continue opposing us as we plant the seeds of progress, but I am certain that, come harvest season, they will be the first to try and take credit,” he said.
Aquino referred to those present at the event as his partners in reform.
He said those who are not at the meeting are against the administration, and that anyone supporting a candidate he has not yet endorsed is not an ally either.
“Of course… those who oppose us will push for their own candidate. And to those who are not with us today because their principles are inherently opposed to ours, is it not also natural for them to oppose everything that we have already done?” the President asked.
Not at the meeting was Vice President Jejomar Binay, whose spokesman, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, said was not invited because the event was exclusively for “coalition partners.”
As Vice President, Binay is officially part of Aquino’s Cabinet.
Instead, another Binay, his daughter Mar-Len Abigail, who is Makati City’s congresswoman and is a member of the majority coalition in the House, attended the meeting.
The President also took a swipe at the past administration.
He recalled the allegations of corruption that hounded former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo such as the fertilizer fund scam, the NBN-ZTE broadband deal and the alleged 2004 election fraud.
“Our citizens fell into apath, many of them almost gave up on their government because it seemed that dismantling the old system was impossible, given that the person who promoted such a system was at the very top,” Aquino said.
He narrated his administration’s achievements in education, infrastructure and social welfare.
“We are able to achieve this, why could others not? We not only did what we had to do, we went beyond what was expected of us. We not only made the impossible, possible, we made these victories the new normal,” the President said.