Malacañang has refuted the New York Times editorial accusing President Benigno Aquino 3rd of “political mischief.”
On Thursday, the international version of the New York Times carried an editorial where the newspaper urged Aquino to “stop butting heads with the court and gracefully step down when his term is up.”
The editorial also described Aquino’s openness to seeking a second term and clipping the judiciary’s powers through Charter change (Cha-cha) as “threats” that “jeopardize Philippine democracy.”
But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Jr. insisted that Aquino is “simply explaining” to the Filipino people why the government is appealing the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“Citing the court’s ruling in the DAP case, as well as its decision upholding former President Arroyo’s decision to appoint then Chief Justice Corona, the President believes that there is sufficient reason to review the 1987 Constitution on the issue of ‘judicial reach,’” Coloma said.
“Given this context, it is inappropriate to characterize this specific action of the President as ‘political mischief,’ or with infidelity to the principles espoused by his parents,” he said.
“President Aquino remains solidly committed to the transformation of Philippine society that is anchored upon good governance upon the righteous path and on the vitality of its democratic institutions,” Coloma added.
Recently, Aquino said in a television that he was open to amending the country’s Constitution to address what he calls as judicial “overreach.”
He also said he was willing to listen to public clamor for him to stay in power.
On Thursday, Aquino shifted gears, saying he is not interested in a second term but is actually looking forward to the end of his present one.
Under the Constitution, the President is limited to a single term of six years.