Aquino wants Cha-Cha? ‘Give it a rest’ – Palace

Natashya Gutierrez
Palace Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says the President is only in the consultation stage regarding charter change

TWO MORE YEARS. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says President Benigno Aquino III is not focused on charter change. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – There are no serious moves from Malacañang to initiate charter change. “Give it a rest.”

This is what Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday, August 27, insisting that the continuous talk on the issue is being kept alive only by critics.

Lacierda again emphasized that “we are not doing anything regarding Cha-Cha” and said those who keep talking about it, such as opposition party UNA spokesperson and Navotas representative Toby Tiangco, are focused on the 2016 presidential polls.

“We’re focused on the problems of the country. And so, those people who are doing that thing [criticizing Aquino on charter change], you’re just so caught up with 2016. I mean, come on, give it a rest. There’s still two years,” he said.

Lacierda said the administration is only in the consultation stage regarding charter change, wherein the President is “listening to the voice of his bosses,” the Filipino people.

“We have not moved an inch away from or further than consultation. So don’t worry about all these people saying that the sky is falling. It’s not. We’re still consulting,” he said.

He also gave assurances that at the moment, “there’s really nothing more than just talking and listening, reading concerns” of the people.

Aquino started it

The issue of charter change became a hot topic recently when Aquino admitted in an interview he is open to a second term if the people will it. The Constitution prohibits the re-election of a president after one 6-year term.

Aquino also said he is open to charter change mainly because of the Supreme Court’s “overreach.” The relationship between the President and the High Court soured after the Supreme Court struck down as partly unconstitutional the administration’s economic stimulus package, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

‘He’ll do the right thing’

One of those who has voiced his opposition towards amendments to term limits and judicial powers is constitutionalist and Jesuit priest Father Joaquin Bernas. Bernas said a push for a second term would be Aquino’s “undoing” and that the president would get no support if he tried to clip the Supreme Court’s powers.

Reacting to Bernas who helped draft the 1987 Constitution, Lacierda said he “is speaking ahead of any action taken by the President.”

“Let’s just wait for the decision of the President. And if there’s one thing that I’d like to impart to the Filipino people, the President has kept faith with the Filipino people for the past 4 years. We ask you to trust that the President will do the right thing,” he said. –

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