Sunday, October 12, 2014
PNoy Abandons Term Extension Bid
Stressing the “lack of consensus and consent from the people,” President Aquino yesterday abandoned any possibility of staying in power beyond his six-year term limit that ends in 2016.
In his most categorical statement so far about a possible longer stay in power, Aquino said that he had reflected on the idea, but the lack of consent from his bosses prompted him to abandon any such thoughts.
President Aquino said the people have already spoken and their will be done. He was apparently referring to the recent Pulse Asia survey showing six out of 10 Filipinos are opposed to his term extension.
Speaking at the Bali Democracy Forum being held here, Aquino said leaders like him are being tempted to consider staying longer in power but warned that this could backfire in the long run.
“As leaders, all of us here have our share of frustrations, borne of the many factors that sometimes hinder the realization of our vision. This breeds the temptation to consider an authoritarian method, as this might promise immediate gains,” Aquino told the audience that included heads of states and other high-ranking officials.
“Sitting down and reflecting on this idea, however, we realize that with the lack of consensus and consent from the people, such a mode which offers quick and short-term gains, may be detrimental to society in the long run,” the President, who is co-chairman of the forum, said.
Talks about Aquino possibly extending his term surfaced recently, with only less than two years left in office. Aquino’s six-year tenure ends in June, 2016.
A possible term extension for the President would involve a Charter amendment.
However, a recent Pulse Asia report showed that six out of 10 Filipinos are opposed to the term extension.
Aquino related that he pondered on the idea when he was challenged during his visit by one student whether there’s benefit to authoritarian rule which assures stability.
He said he could not share the sentiment of the student, who hails from an ASEAN country, citing the experience of his family who were exiled in the US during the Marcos regime.
“Instead I wondered: What were good about those days? The discussion with a member of our youth gave me impetus to reflex even more on the matter.”
Aquino said that while things are supposedly done faster in a totalitarian regime, this comes with a high price to the people through abuse and misuse of power “because there are no checks and balances in place.”
In an authoritarian rule, “the consent and the support of the governed are neither nor attained. Naturally, such a regime, once divorced from the desire of its people, will have weak foundations.”
At some point, the authoritarian regime will try to maintain perpetual stay in power “with political survival the end and be all of government.”
On the other hand, a free democratic society, Aquino said, “is systematically attuned to the voice of the people, it represents the people and works toward the betterment of the people. And while consensus building may be a long and complicated process, it presents more stable, more solid foundations for equitable advancement.”
The President reminded that the Philippines’ path to democracy was attained the hard way, but this has only strengthened the Filipino’s resolve to protect it at all cost.
He said the bloodless People Power in 1986 has shown the world the determination of Filipinos to say enough is enough, not with violence but through peaceful means.
Aquino said his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino, has sought to live up to the aspirations of the Filipino people and the promise of EDSA revolution.
Another people power revolution happened in 2010, this time with Filipinos exercising their will through the ballot, when people “campaigned with us and voted for an idea whose fruits we are reaping today: Where there is no corruption, there will be no poverty.”
He pointed out that democracy and governance can go hand in hand together. “One only needs to look at our resurgent economy, a more empowered citizenry, and the growing confidence of the international community in the Philippines.”
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