Malacañang on Saturday downplayed a possible face-off between President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2016, saying there is yet no “clarity” on the issue.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the entire interview with the Vice President should be aired.
“The Vice President was being honest in his answer [that he intends to run for the top government post against anyone in the next elections]. There will be greater clarity once we all see the entire interview. Really, it’s hard to judge the entire thing based on some of the clips that have been coming out,” Valte said in an interview aired over Radyo ng Bayan when asked to comment on Binay’s statement on Friday.
Binay on Friday replied to a reporter’s question with a “Yes” when asked if he would square off with Aquino if the Constitution were amended to allow for a second term for the President. The 1987 Charter limits the President’s term of office to six years.
Aquino earlier said he was open to Charter change because only through an amendment could the powers of the Supreme Court be clipped.
As to seeking a second term, the President said he would have to consult and listen to his “bosses,” the Filipino people.
“Nung pinasukan ko ito, ang tanda ko one term of six years. Ngayon, after having said that, syempre ang mga boss ko, kelangan kong pakinggan,” he said in an interview with TV5. “How do we ensure the reforms we began will become permanent?”
When interviewed by reporters in Naga City on Friday, Binay said he is ready to face Aquino in 2016.
“I’m ready to face him in 2016 should he decide to run again if a term extension pushes through,” Binay said in a press conference held at the Oriental Hotel.
“I have prepared myself for this. I studied. I have been mayor for 21 years. So, I’m bringing all that to the presidency,” the vice president said.
Binay also warned the President not to readily listen to his allies who only have their own personal interests in mind.
He said any move to amend the Constitution should be limited to economic provisions.
“Sana hindi ito makarating sa Supreme Court (I hope this will not reach the Supreme Court,” Binay said.
Several groups, including the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the Philippine Constitutional Association, said Aquino should not extend his term beyond 2016.
Philconsa president Rita Linda Jimeno said the people will not support Aquino if he seeks another term.
“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,” she said.