MANILA, Philippines - The daily countdown to the end of his term in 2016 continues despite President Aquino’s declaration that he is open to Charter change that would allow him to seek reelection.
“Siyempre naman. Dumadaloy ang panahon at lumalapit ang June 30, 2016 (Of course. Time flows and June 30, 2016 is approaching),” Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office told reporters yesterday, referring to calendars in the Office of the President where they mark each passing day of his term in the run-up to 2016.
It was Aquino himself who had repeatedly mentioned in his speeches about his keeping a countdown calendar to demonstrate his resolve to step down after his term.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, his deputy Abigail Valte and Coloma had also spoken about the President’s countdown calendar.
Lacierda earlier said the administration has had nothing to do with an online petition seeking the reelection of Aquino.
“We are counting down the number of days left under this administration. So it’s not coming from us. We’re looking forward to the day that we’ll be passing on this government to another equally transformative, transparent administration,” he said.
Coloma made similar remarks several times, the most recent of which was in March.
He earlier emphasized all efforts of the government and members of the Cabinet are geared toward achieving inclusive growth and reducing poverty.
Aquino had admitted in August last year – halfway through his six-year term – that he had learned to enjoy being the chief executive.
“All jokes aside, this is a role I have come to enjoy,” he said candidly in a speech at the inauguration of a Brother Industries Philippines Inc. plant in Tanauan, Batangas.
He was grumbling about the demands of his job and his low pay in the months after assuming the presidency in 2010.
Coloma also made clear they were not about to stand down on the issue of Charter change and possible term extension for President Aquino.
“Listening to the voice of his bosses is important to the President. He wants to know the pulse and sentiments of the people and how to ensure that the reforms and transformation will continue and will become permanent,” Coloma said.
Asked to expound on the President’s statement on the possible clipping of the powers of the judiciary, Coloma said: “Maybe that is also born out of his consciousness of the mandate of the people that he needs to fulfill.”
But Coloma stressed Aquino was merely stating his principles and not picking a fight with the judiciary.
Asked about the possibility of the issue causing division among Filipinos, Coloma said he didn’t think that would happen because the President was merely fulfilling his “social contract with the Filipino people.” – With Aurea Calica