Binay to run vs Aquino should term extension push through

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

VICE President Jejomar Binay said Saturday that he will run against President Benigno Aquino III in 2016 should the presidential term extension push through.

Binay who is running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said he is ready to face the challenge of the presidency.

"Tuloy pa rin," said Binay, who served as the mayor of Makati for 20 years.

He expressed belief that he is now well equipped to join the presidential race regardless of who will be running against him in the coming 2016 elections.

"Since 2010, I have openly said it. Naghanda naman po ako rito, nakapag-aral naman ako. Kaya dadalhin ko sa pwesto ng pagkapangulo ang
aking kahinatnan at kakayahan," the Vice President said.

Earlier, Binay admitted that he is totally disappointed on the idea that Aquino will be pushing for a possible charter change because of the recent decision of the Supreme Court on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program declaring some of its components as unconstitutional.

He warned against a political and Constitutional crisis should the President embark on a confrontation with the Supreme Court. He added that such a move will close the doors for the President to leave a good and lasting legacy for the country.

Binay described the moves as selfish, dangerous, and repressive.

"Dinadala ang ating bansa sa bingit ng krisis-pulitikal at Konstitusyonal ng mga nagpapayo sa Pangulo na tumahak sa landas ng harapang tunggalian sa Korte Suprema. Inilalagay rin nila sa panganib ang pagkakataon ng Pangulo na mag-iwan ng magandang pamana sa mamamayan. Ginagamit nila ang pangalan ng pampublikong interes upang itago ang kanilang pansariling interes. Ito ay mapanganib at
mapaniil," he said.

Binay reminded Malacanang that democracy is based on check and balances and that the Supreme Court's decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program is within its powers and duties as provided for in the 1987 Constitution ratified under the term of President Corazon Aquino.

"Nakasandig ang demokrasya sa sistema ng checks and balances. Nang ideklara ng Korte Suprema na labag sa Konstitusyon ang Disbursement
Acceleration Program (DAP), ito ay pagtupad lamang sa kapangyarihan at tungkulin nito na nakasaad sa Konstitusyon ng 1987 na pinagtibay noong panahon ni Pangulong Cory Aquino," he said.

Binay further said that while he respects the opinion of those that believe that the powers of the Supreme Court is vast and needs to be clipped and that the term of the President should not be limited to one term he urges calm and sobriety.

"Hindi natin dapat payagang sirain ang mga institusyong tumitiyak ng ating kalayaan ng mga konsiderasyong pulitikal," Binay said.

He said that he is against a Charter change except for certain economic provisions.

"Maliban na lamang sa mga probisyong pang-ekonomiya. Hindi nagbabago ang paninindigan ko," he said.

Binay sees Charter Change beyond that can only bring chaos and divisiveness at a time when the country needs national unity.

"Patuloy kong tututulan ang anumang uri ng pulitikal na pagbabago sa Konstitusyon hindi lamang dahil sa prinsipyo kundi dahil ito ay
magdudulot ng gulo at di pagkakasundo sa panahong kailangan natin ng pambansang pagkakaisa.

As a lawyer, Binay believes that a functioning democracy obligates the three equal branches -- the executive, judiciary and legislature – to respect the independence of the other and recognize their powers, duties, and limitations as provided for in the Constitution.

"Ang malusog na demokrasya ay para sa ikabubuti ng mamamayan," he said.

It is clear in the Constitution, Binay said, that the Supreme Court has the duty to check abuses and excesses of any part of government.

"Isinama ito para maiwasan ang sitwasyon na yumuyuko ang hudikatura sa kagustuhan ng isang sangay ng pamahalaan, o ng isang tao katulad ng
nangyari noong panahon ng batas militar," Binay said.

Binay said that the ideals of millions of Filipinos who supported 1986 Edsa Revolution is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution establishing a strong Supreme Court as a defense against any form of dictatorship.

"Bilang isa sa mga lumaban para sa kalayaan at demokrasya noong panahon ng batas militar, pinapahalagahan ko ang mga kapangyarihang
ibinigay sa Korte Suprema ng Konstitusyon ng 1987," he added.

Both the Chief Executive and Binay were together during the Edsa Revolution when the late President Corazon Aquino was declared
President of the Philippines under a revolutionary government.

Binay was then appointed as officer-in-charge in Makati under the Cory Aquino government.

But Binay who declared that there is no more stopping in his fight for the presidency in the coming elections also confirmed that his
partymates in the opposition will oppose any move to amend the Constitution.

The Vice President said that the United Nationallist Alliance (UNA) does not agree with the move to form Congress as a constituent
assembly to amend the Constitution.

It was reported that some of President Aquino's staunch supporters were pushing for giving him a second term.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the sitting President is only allowed a single six-year term. The restriction was born of the country's
experience of Martial Law under the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled for more than two decades.

Any constitutional amendment would require a vote of three quarters in Congress to form Congress into a Constituent Assembly.

Aquino's allies dominate both houses of Congress.

Past presidents have considered Charter amendments but faced intense public criticism by attempting to extend term of office.

President Aquino who has put in place reforms in the fiscal sector that earned the country its first investment rating is likely to face similar public reaction.

Earlier, some legislators including the House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte have openly and actively pushed for changes to the Constitution, particularly to economic provisions.

While reportedly, Iloilo Representative Jerry Trenas proposed a solution to resolve the raging debate on whether or not Aquino should be given a second term by holding a referendum.

Trenas said the only way to prove the claim of Aquino's critics that he has lost the support of the people is to let them decide through actual ballot count as he noted that it would be a tragedy if he is not given the chance to secure a new mandate to ensure that all the reforms and accomplishments made under his presidency are institutionalized and sustained.

Trenas said that the Philippines is gifted with the rare opportunity to have a leader whose unselfish dedication to public service has brought a new vibrancy to the country's economy and empower Filipinos to be able to defeat poverty and it would be a tragedy if Aquino is
replaced by a leader who would does not possess the same qualities and ideals.

"The President's critics are even claiming that he should step down because he has lost the support of our people but at the same time, they are afraid to hear the real voice of our people. This is the essence and the spirit of our democracy," he said.

"It would be a real tragedy if we miss this opportunity to have a leader who have really done something to make life better for all of us and can do more to reverse the misfortunes that we have had as a nation,” Trenas added.

The Iloilo lawmaker said the issue on the president's term of office can be included as one of the proposed amendments in the Constitution subject to the approval of the people through a referendum.

Trenas said that as a democratic nation, "it is the decision of the majority that should prevail and this referendum would truly measure
the true voice of the nation."

He admitted, however, that Congress might not have enough time to pursue proposals to amend the Constitution to allow the president to seek another term and at the same correct the charter’s restrictive economic provisions. (Jun M. Sarmiento/Sunnex)

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