MANILA - Talks about President Aquino possibly running for a new term in 2016 may only be a political ploy by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) to catch up with the opposition and Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
Political analyst and consultant Malou Tiquia, in an interview on radio dzMM Thursday night, said just amending the Constitution to allow Aquino to run again is a long process in itself.
"Iyung Konstitusyon, ipinagbabawal iyun (second term for a president). Sa tingin ko, ang dami pang steps para umabot tayo sa punto na tatakbo siya for a second term," she said.
Tiquia said lawmakers will have to decide first if charter change will be done through either a constituent assembly or through a constitutional convention.
"Napakagulo ng Kongreso ngayon sa nangyayari dito sa DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program). Meron tayong impeachment. Paano mo isisingit iyan na isa mga prayoridad ng Kongreso? Napakahirap gawin. Magdedebate pa," she said.
"Pag constitutional assembly, ang taumbayan aayaw diyan dahil iyung nakaupo ang magpapalit," Tiquia added.
She said Aquino himself has rejected House Speaker Sonny Belmonte's proposal to amend the Constitution's economic provisions.
"Doon pa lang, ang official position ng Pangulo, ayaw niya iyun," she said.
This is why Tiquia was suprised to hear about Aquino's stand on amending the Constitution and running again for President. "Nagbago siya ng posisyon -- to gain, para sa kanya."
She said before even thinking of Aquino getting reelected, people around the President should think first about strategies to resolve various issues. "Dapat hindi nga endgame ang pinag-uusapan. Strategies muna, ang daming mga issues."
"It's one thing to amend, another thing to run, and another thing to win," she said.
Tiquia said pushing President Aquino to run again only shows the LP's weakness.
"Dahil sa kahinaan mo, iyung namumrublemang Pangulo, dahil napakaraming issues na dapat tapusin, ay ikakasangkapan uli ng LP, for LP to stay for another 6 years," she added.
She believes that the real reason behind it is for Aquino to shore up the LP's base, rally its officials and supporters, and have Aquino's endorsement value when the 2016 elections come.
"Shore up the base, iyung 'LP, LP ka ha? Hindi tayo babalik sa Volkswagen, nasa malaking bus na tayo,'" she said.
"Iyung rally the troops, 'kailangan ng continuity ng programa ng ating administrasyon,'" Tiquia said.
She said the Supreme Court ruling on DAP ruling may have affected Aquino, particularly on liabilities.
"Iyung scenario na pag wala na siya sa opisina, anong mangyayari?" Tiqua said, discussing the possibility that charges may be filed against government officials behind the unconstitutional DAP if and when Aquino and the LP are no longer in power.
'DICTATORSHIP NOT IN AQUINO DNA'
She also believes that Aquino thinks of his parents' fight against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
His father was assassinated, while her mother became President after Marcos was ousted.
"Sa tingin ko, iisipin din ng Pangulo ang kanyang magulang. Sa tingin ko, kung titignan mo, wala sa DNA niya ang maging diktador," Tiquia said.
She urged people who could be just using Aquino to consider the impact of their acts.
"Iyung gumagamit sa Pangulo, isipin din nila kung anong magiging legacy ng tao," Tiquia said.
"Doon sa SONA, halos ayaw na niya eh," she said, adding that Aquino is already looking forward to a quiet life when he leaves office after 2016.
"Itong Pangulong ito, ilang beses na niyang sinasabi, ilang araw na lang ako. Nagbibilang eh. May countdown."
"All of a sudden... siguro may nagsabi na naman sa kaniya na 'O, sa Supreme Court."
Aquino, in an interview with TV-5 that aired Wednesday, said he may try to change the Constitution and serve a second term in office.
The 1987 Constitution restricts presidents to serving a single term of 6 years, designed to stop a repeat of Marcos' two-decade reign that ended in the 1986 People Power uprising.
Aquino insisted for many years he was against constitutional change and that he would step aside when his term ended in 2016, but later indicated he was reconsidering.
"When I first got into this, I noted I had only one term of six years. Now, after having said that, of course I have to listen to the voice of my bosses," he said.
The President said he was considering the highly controversial move because he wanted to ensure his political reforms would continue.
Nevertheless, Aquino emphasized that he had made no definite plans to try and stay in power for 12 years.
"It doesn't automatically mean I will go after an additional term," he said.
Aquino did not specify that he wanted to change the Constitution just to remove presidential term limits.
Instead, he said the Constitution likely needs amending to rein in the Supreme Court, which recently ruled that Aquino's controversial DAP was illegal.
"Before all these things happened, I was closed to (constitutional change). I admit that. But now, I'm seriously rethinking things," Aquino said, in reference to the court's ruling on DAP.
He complained that the US-style checks and balances in government had faded and the Supreme Court now had the power to overrule Congress and the executive branch.
MAR AND JUN
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who is seen as the LP's possible flagbearer in the 2016 elections against Binay, was the first person in the President's inner circle to say in public that he wants Aquino to get a new term in office.
In an exclusive interview with Lynda Jumilla on ANC's "Beyond Politics," Roxas dodged the question on whether he will likely be Aquino's anointed candidate in the next presidential elections.
Instead, he revealed that if only it were up to him, he would want Aquino to extend his term and continue his "tuwid na daan" governance.
"Kung ako lang ang tatanungin -- at ito walang pahintulot sa Pangulo ito, wala ring konsultasyon sa partido ko ito, ito ako lang ito -- dapat mas mahaba ang termino ni Pangulong PNoy kasi nakita na natin kung saan niya tayo dinala. At sino pa ba kundi siya ang pinakamabuti, pinakamahusay na makapagpatuloy nito," he said.
Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya, the LP's acting president, also said Thursday that Aquino is the LP's "best player" in the coming national polls.
"We're just putting our best player forward in case this pushes through, we feel our best player is PNoy," he said. "(The) 2nd best player, (Interior Secretary Mar) Roxas."
Asked if the President is open to running for another term, Abaya replied, "Personally, 'Daang Matuwid' should continue."
Another LP member, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, joined the fray and said Thursday that he is determined to file a resolution calling for Charter change to lift term limits of public officials and allow Aquino to seek a second term. - with reports from dzMM, Agence France-Presse