MANILA, Philippines – Stressing he was only expressing a personal opinion when he pushed for the possibility of a second term for President Benigno Aquino III, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II nevertheless echoed Malacañang’s position that there is widespread support for the idea.
On Friday, August 15, Roxas said he first divulged his “personal” view in an interview prior to the President’s pronouncement on the issue. The idea, he said, was something he did not discuss with his party nor something he asked the permission of Aquino to say.
“Hindi ko hiningan ng pahintulot ang Pangulo, hindi ko ito diniscuss sa aking partido, ‘yun lang ang aking pananaw,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a forum on the use of closed-circuit television for crime prevention.
(I did not ask the President for his permission, I did not discuss this with my party. It was just my personal view).
Some two weeks after Roxas floated the idea in an interview, Aquino on Wednesday, August 13, shocked even his allies when he said, for the first time, that he would consider a second term if the people willed it.
Currently, a president is only allowed to be elected to a 6-year term once. A reelection would require charter change.
Asked whether it was he who planted the seed in Aquino’s head, Roxas only joked, “Everything is blamed on me.”
Roxas however echoed Malacañang previous statement that Aquino’s change of heart was influenced by “information on the ground.” The interior secretary pointed to “support” from various sectors for a second Aquino presidency.
“Maraming nagsasabi na para masiguro ‘yung daan na matuwid, wala nang mas mabuti kung hindi ipatuloy ni Aquino ang kanyang pamumuno. At mangyayari lang ito kung magkakaroon ng second term,” he said.
(A lot of people say that the way to continue down the straight and narrow path is for Aquino to continue his leadership. And this will only happen if he gets a second term).
Like the Palace, Roxas didn’t give specifics, only saying the idea was not an unpopular one.
“Sa Internet mismo, merong mga website, homegrown, independente, mga ordinaryong mamamayan na nagpaparating ng kanilang pananaw at suporta sa idea na ito. Sa iba’t ibang media outlets, sa kanilang mga polls at sa kanilang mga call-in [surveys] ganun din ang nangyayari,” he said.
(On the Internet itself, there are website, homegrown, independent, where ordinary citizens convey their views and support for this idea. In various media outlets, in their polls and their call-ins, its also the same trend).
Ironically, Aquino’s satisfaction and approval ratings are at their lowest since he came into power.
Roxas refused to answer when asked whether there was an actual move toward making a reelection for Aquino a possibility. Amending that provision of the Constitution would require the vote of two-thirds of Congress.
Before Aquino’s statements, Roxas was the presumed standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP) for 2016. Critics allege that the sudden openness to a second term by Aquino signalled a lack of options for the ruling party.
Roxas’ numbers in surveys remain low, while opposition candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay – a family friend of the Aquinos whom the President’s sisters are open to endorsing – maintains his high ratings.
When Roxas was asked whether the push for a second term for President Aquino is evidence of a weak LP, he merely shrugged, “That’s their view.” – Rappler.com
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