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Aquino won’t push charter change during his term, says spokesperson
Publication Date : 16-08-2014
Faced with the prospect of unending street protests, Malacañang on Friday clarified that President Benigno Aquino III was not supporting any moves to amend the Constitution during the remaining two years of his term.
Aquino never said in the much-analysed TV5 interview that he wanted charter change to happen now, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Friday.
“I think we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. What I remember the President say was that he’s thinking about it. He didn’t say, ‘Let’s do this tomorrow.’ He did not say anything about doing it tomorrow, doing it next week, doing it in the next few months,” she said.
The Palace also distanced itself from administration lawmakers in the House of Representatives campaigning to introduce amendments to the Constitution.
The President never issued any go-signal to his allies to do this, said Valte.
“Those are their own actions and their own advocacies,” she said, adding that this was “borne out of their own judgment.”
Neither is the President advocating clipping the powers of the judiciary, Valte said.
If at all, Aquino “indicated his openness to charter change to restore the balance” between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, she said.
Valte said it would be best for everyone to just wait for TV5 to air the interview in full, possibly on Sunday, before commenting further.
Aquino’s comments in the one-and-half-hour-long interview with TV5 last Wednesday have been interpreted as an about-face on his previous opposition to charter change, so that he was now advocating constitutional amendments in order to clip the powers of the judiciary, and to lift the one-term limit for the President so he can run for a second term in 2016.
He has drawn heavy flak for his comments, with senators, constitutional experts and the clergy saying that he would be undoing the legacy of his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, and warned of street protests and court suits.
The Constitution was enacted during the administration of the President’s mother, who became President after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in 1986.
“You know, like the President said in the last Sona (State of the Nation Address), I think he is one of the best people to be aware of what the legacy of his parents are,” Valte said of the criticisms.