Malacañang on Friday expressed disagreement with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s proposal to lift term limits for elective officials mandated in the 1987 Constitution.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. reminded Binay that the term limits imposed on Philippine Presidents were instituted by the framers of the country’s Charter to prevent abuse of power.
Coloma cited the bad experience of Filipinos during the strongman rule of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.
“Pinakamahalaga yung nag-iisang termino ng Pangulo at kailangang marinig ang tinig ng mga boss [The most important is the single term for a President and we need to hear the opinion of the bosses, the Filipino people],” he said.
In a separate statement, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte pointed out that President Benigno Aquino 3rd has expressed “reservations about lifting term limits.”
“He [Aquino] has expressed this many times as lifting term limits opens the door to dictators who can abuse the resources of the State to stay in power, which was precisely the concern of the framers of the 1987 Constitution,” she said.
“Doing away with term limits may also make it easier for families with dynastic inclinations to perpetuate themselves in office,” Valte added.
Under the 1935 Constitution, Presidents are mandated to serve for four years and are allowed to run for reelection.
The 1987 Constitution, however, disallows reelection for a President, whose term is set at six years.
Binay is gunning for the presidency in 2016. He has been criticizing the Aquino administration since resigning from the Cabinet.
His views on term limits of elected officials are based on his experience as an elected local and national official, his spokesman said also on Friday.
Joey Salgado, Binay’s head of media affairs, clarified the Vice President’s statements regarding term limits.
The Vice President served as mayor of Makati City for two decades. His son, Jejomar Erwin, is mayor of Makati City while his daughters Nancy and Mar-Len Abigail were elected senator and congressman, respectively.
Salgado said Binay prefers a shorter term for President–a four-year term with provisions for reelection to another four years.
“For the Vice President, six years is too long for a bad president and too short for a good one,” he added.
The Constitution does not allow reelection for a President, who can only serve for six years. It also prohibits Vice President to be elected for two consecutive terms.
For Binay, the public is seemingly being punished to see through a six-year term that has failed and insensitive in its governance.
[The public should have the opportunity after four years to express through their votes whether they want the current administration to continue or if they want change],” Salgado said.
He also clarified Binay’s statement on wanting to lift term limits for local officials.
Salgado said the Vice President’s statement is founded on his experience as a local official.
“As long as the people elect their leaders in an honest, free and credible election, they should not be restricted as to their choices,” he added.
Salgado explained Binay’s approval of constitutional amendments on economic provisions.
The Vice President believes this should be given “utmost priority.”
“Certain restrictive provisions hinder the entry of foreign investments, which would in turn generate jobs and address the prevailing problems of hunger and poverty especially in the rural areas,” he said.
Binay earlier said that although he is open to easing some terms of the provisions, there still must be measures put in place to safeguard the country’s interest.
Currently, there is a 60-40 percent restriction on foreign ownership in the country.