Some Cebuanos: PNoy’s support a betrayal of parents legacy

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

CEBU CITY -- As the nation commemorates Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.’s 31st death anniversary today, his son, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, continues to draw criticism for saying in a television interview that he is open to changing the Constitution.

In Cebu, a church official, three lawyers and non-government organizations expressed their opposition to any move to amend the Constitution.

Three government officials see the need to introduce amendments, but only to introduce provisions that will open the Philippines to more investments.


Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district) said he believes the president’s pronouncement that constitutional changes are needed to address “a judicial overreach.”

In an interview over TV5 on Aug. 13, the president said he is open to amending the 1987 Constitution to address “judicial overreach.” The president had not made secret his dislike of the Supreme Court’s decision declaring certain provisions of his administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional and void.

In the same interview, the president amending constitutional provisions on term limits of elected officials would depend on public clamor.

Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Metro Cebu South parishes, said the president would commit a disservice to his parents’ memory if he supports constitutional change to extend his term after 2016.


“If he pushes through with his plan, PNoy will go down in history as a stupid and greedy president,” he said.

He pointed out that the president’s parents fought against the Marcos dynasty and martial law. During the administration of president Corazon “Cory” Aquino, Noynoy’s mother, enacted the 1987 Constitution, which prevented future presidents from seeking reelection.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said the president should not support Charter change to extend his term limit.

“Being a good son to his mother, he should be consistent with her admirable position.

He should abide by what the Constitution provides,” he said. Besides, he said, the country has other good leaders.

Binghay said that rather than consider extending his term to sustain his programs, Noynoy should prepare a successor who supports his ideals.


“A bad politician prepares for the next elections, but a good one prepares for the next generation,” he said.

Lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu said Noynoy should constitutional change may result in destabilization.

She said the reason cited by the president shows that “he (Noynoy) wants to clip the powers of the Supreme Court, thereby disrupting the delicate balance of power among the three equal and independent branches of government.”

Lawyer Michael Yu said the Constitution must be respected. “Amending the Constitution to serve the interest of a single person disturbs the balance,” he added.

Lawyer Democrito Barcenas, a supporter of Noynoy, said he is against any move to amend the Constitution, even for economic reasons. He said he does not believe Noynoy wants to extend his term.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he supports Charter change to implement economic and political reforms in the country. But he said the issue should not be tackled by the present administration.

Del Mar agreed that there is no urgency in amending the Constitution.


Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa (Cebu City, south district) said the Constitution is “outdated” and needs to be amended so that the country can “respond to the dynamics of the world economy and seize opportunities.” He said the issue is not about lifting term limits.

Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu Province, fourth district) agrees with Abellanosa and Rama.

He said some provisions in the Constitution hamper the country’s economic growth, such as regulations on foreign ownership of real estate and shareholdings in companies.

Salimbangon said Congress can make sure that constitutional change to lift term limits would not benefit present officials, including the president.

He also pointed out that there is not enough time to enact constitutional change.

But Bayan Visayas chairman Jaime Paglinawan and Karapatan vowed to block any move to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Karapatan coordinator Dennis Abarientos said the president betrays his parents’ legacy and his duty by supporting charter change.

Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez said it would be “immoral” for Noynoy to support charter change to extend his term. He said that for the president to say that lifting term limits would be up to his “bosses,” Noynoy’s term for the Filipino people, is “adding insult to injury.”

Judge Kit Enriquez said constitutional amendment through a congressional act “out of the question.” “Our senators and congressmen cannot be trusted,” he added.

Rep. Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu Province, second district), a member of the Liberal Party, said he did not know where the information that the president is open to constitutional change came from because he was not aware of any directive.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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