Aquino slams 2016 hopefuls

Natashya Gutierrez
President Benigno Aquino III says officials should focus on today's issues rather than the 2016 elections

FOCUS ON TODAY. President Benigno Aquino III tells 2016 hopefuls to worry about the elections in the future rather than today. File photo from OVP

MANILA, Philippines – Focus on the country’s current problems, rather than the 2016 presidential elections.

This was the advice of President Benigno Aquino III to presidential hopefuls already positioning for the polls. 

On Monday, August 18, in a speech in Cagayan where he inaugurated a new bridge, Aquino slammed officials eyeing 2016.

Mga kasama ‘pag nagbabasa tayo ng dyaryo araw-araw, tila marami nang nangangampanya. Parang nakalimutan nila may problema tayo ngayon,” he said.

(When we read newspapers every day, clearly there are those already campaigning. It’s as if they have forgotten we have problems today).

Aquino said concerns over 2016 should be left for 2016.

Meron namang problema sa 2016 na eleksyon ‘di ba. 2016 na iyon, ngayon tugunan muna natin iyong problemang bumabalot sa atin pong sambayanan dahil obligasyon natin, maski saan tayong panig, kung tayo’y may magagawa naman sa kapwa hindi pwedeng somewhere down the line, dapat ho now na.”

(In 2016, there will be the problem of elections. But that’s for 2016. Right now, let’s first address the problems pervading our country because that’s our obligation, whatever side we’re on, that if we have something we can do for the people we can’t do it somewhere down the line. It has to be now.)

Of those campaigning for 2016, the most active is opposition candidate and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who remains highly popular in satisfaction ratings. The ruling Liberal Party (LP) has yet to announce its standard-bearer, though it is already grooming Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

The President’s statements come days after news broke of his admission that he was open to a second term if the people willed it. The Constitution does not allow re-election for presidents, and accords them a single 6-year term. Roxas, LP’s presumed presidential bet, continues to rank low in surveys.

Aquino however also hinted at leaving office at the end of his term.

He said his administration has proven, in 4 years, that nothing is impossible when the country is committed to the straight and narrow path.

He said he is confident the people will continue to do so whether he is president or not.

Tiwala ako – nasa eksena man ako o wala – patuloy na ipaglalaban ng Pilipino ang kanyang kapwa, at hahakbang sa landas tungo sa isang mas maaliwalas, mas patas, at mas maunlad na bukas,” he said.

(I am confident – that whether I am in the scene or not – the Filipino people will continue to fight for each other, and will continue down a path that is clearer and fairer, towards a better tomorrow). –