President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday admitted consulting some people about a proposal to amend the Constitution but made it clear he is not interested in seeking another term.
In an interview with Bombo Radyo, Aquino said he looks forward to stepping down in 2016.
“In one year and 10 months, I will be with (Undersecretary) Rey Marfil and (Assistant Secretary) Jun Delantar. On July 1, the day after we step down from office, we will eat well with Kalayaan [Freedom] written on our backs,” the President added.
Aquino was referring to Communications Undersecretary Renato Marfil and Assistant Executive Secretary Reynaldo Delantar Jr.
He reiterated that his priority is to ensure the continuity of the reforms that he started.
“Hindi ako masokista. Pero at the same time, sabi ko nga, makikinig ako sa anumang utos ng mga boss natin [I am not a masochist. But at the same time, like I said, I will listen to whatever the bosses want],” Aquino said, referring to the people.
According to him, there are ordinary Filipinos who have told him to stay on.
In a recent visit to Cagayan, the President said someone from the crowd shouted, “Isa pa hong termino![One more term!].”
Aquino noted that it was a “good thing” that the other people did not join in on the “spontaneous” call.
The President recalled that when he went to a wake, a woman approached him and said, “Huwag po ninyong iiwan iyong Pilipinas [Please don’t leave the Philippines].
Kailangan pa namin ho kayo. Marami pa hong kailangang gawin. Dapat ituloy na ho ninyo [We still need you. There are still a lot of things to do. You should continue].”
He said he has to find his successor but the issue of whether this leader can continue his reforms still needs to be addressed.
“So can I tell them we have a limit. Our work is to find someone who will continue our reforms,” the President added.
“[They ask], ‘What’s the guarantee that what you did will continue? Perhaps it’ll be like we were on vacation for six years then we will go back to the old system,’” he said.
Aquino fueled speculation on the possible lifting of term limits during an interview with TV5.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President is limited to a single term of six years.
The President explained that his interest in Charter change is to impose limits on the “overreach” of the judiciary.
He said the Supreme Court has been meddling too much, making it difficult for him to run the government.
“There were other instances wherein, like in martial law, they didn’t want to meddle [in some cases]and now they want to meddle in everything,” the President added.
“It has become excessive,” he said.
The President added that policies of the Supreme Court are problematic in that the
tribunal seems unsure if these policies would be able to withstand legal scrutiny.
He cited the High Court’s decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional.
The court also declared that authors and proponents of the DAP will be held accountable unless proven innocent by the proper tribunal.
The President said the Supreme Court may have presumed the executive department guilty when it should be the other way around.
“[In the] Bill of Rights, [it is]presumed innocent until proven guilty. [Here, it was changed], guilty until proven innocent… [The Constitution seemed to have been changed here],” he added.