MANILA – Amidst calls to extend his term, President Benigno Aquino III remained disinterested in amending the Constitution to extend his six-year term. Because for him, it was a risky move that could bring back the possibility of having another dictator in the country.
“My answer to those who are espousing an extension of terms is, we will undoubtedly have benefits for having a government that will not have to relearn how to govern, but at the same time we open the doors to somebody who might emulate former President Ferdinand Marcos and decide to stay in office forever,” Aquino said in a press conference in Japan.
It can be recalled that Marcos was elected as the Philippine president in 1965. He ran and won again as president in 1969. He then declared martial law to extend his term in 1972 but was ousted by the first People Power Revolution in 1986.
During Marcos’s reign, Aquino’s father, late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., was assassinated. This tragic event led to the revolution, appointing Aquino’s mother, Corazon Aquino as president.
Mrs. Aquino’s supporters also urged to extend her term. She, however, rejected all proposals. Like her, Aquino dismissed calls to extend his six-year term.
“I think that is a very serious risk that our country, or my country, has to avoid. So I ask that we not consider reopening the Constitution for term limits,” Aquino said.
Departing from Charter change talks, Aquino was instead asked regarding his preferred successor. To this, the president did not mention any name yet but reiterated that he wanted someone who would continue the reforms and sustain the gains of his administration.
“When will I endorse? I promised our people I was hoping it would be the end of June, but now it seems that I have to, by law, deliver a State of the Nation Address (SONA), which is on the last Monday of July. It will be shortly after that that I will endorse the person whom I believe can carry out the continuity,” he said.
Aquino also stressed that he wanted the next president to maintain the country’s sound relationship with Japan.
“I don’t think our people will elect a foolhardy replacement that will suddenly throw away all these very good economic partnerships that we have with Japan,” he added.