MANILA, Philippines – Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, who was debating opposite Imee Marcos, said wider term limits should be imposed on public officials to avoid a repeat of the Marcos dictatorship, and the problem of corruption similar to what happened during martial law.
“Nakalimutan na ba natin ang aning kasaysayan na meron tayong isang pangulo na niluklok ang sarili bilang diktador para nga maiwasan ang term limits? At ginawa nyang kasangkapan yun para siya’y magkamal at familya nila ng malaking pera?” Diokno said during his face-off with Marcos during GMA News’ senatorial debate on Saturday, February 9.
(Have we forgotten our history where a president installed himself a dictator to avoid term limits. And he used this so he and his family could amass large amounts of money?)
Marcos smiled while Diokno was answering. Diokno’s father, the late senator Jose W. Diokno, was a staunch opponent of martial law and among the victims of human rights abuses during the dictatorial rule of Marcos’ father Ferdinand.
Marcos said she favored the removal of term limits citing a study that shows retaining term limits did nothing to lessen political dynasties.
Marcos added that imposing term limits ended up installing to office unqualified family members.
“Tanggalin na ang mga term limits at hindi naman nakakatulong,” said Marcos, adding that: “kapag nag jackpot tayo at may matino na kandidato, hindi ba walang panahon ang pagsusupil halimbawa ng kahirapan ay hindi pabago bago kundi tunay na pagbabago na nangangailangan ng deka dekadang pagtatrabaho.”)
(Remove term limits because it doesn’t help. If we luck out on a good public servant, isn’t it that there’s no timeframe to end poverty, instead we need change that requires decades of work.)
Diokno asked Marcos how the latter would lessen political dynasties without imposing term limits.
“Tumulong po ako sa pagsasaliksik ng bagong SK reform act kung saan makikita natin dito ang kauna unahang anti dynasty provision na nagsasaad na ang 2nd degree of civil relations, consanguinity and affinity ay bawal tumakbo,” Marcos said.
(I helped in the research of the Sangguniang Kabataan reform where we saw the very first anti-dynasty provision which banned family members of 2nd degree civil relations, consanguinity and affinity from running for office.)
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s proposed draft federal constitution would remove the term limits for members of Congress.
Diokno and Marcos faced off on the issue of term limits during the 2nd part of the debate, where the former mentioned that the Supreme Court has already declared the Marcos loot as ill-gotten wealth.
It was a hit on Marcos’ earlier statement from the debate that their family is prepared to prove that the money they have is not ill-gotten wealth. – Rappler.com