MANILA - Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Thursday said President Aquino has not said he will outright seek a second term even if he considers constitutional changes including the adjustment of term limits for officials.
In a statement, Binay said: "President Aquino has been quoted as expressing openness to listen to the people on the matter of seeking another term. He added that it does not automatically mean he will seek another term. I respect the statement of the President."
Binay, who is eyeing the presidency in the 2016 polls, said any national leader would want to hear the voice of the people on issues that will have far-reaching consequences.
"What is important is that the voice he hears is an authentic and genuine voice, not one manufactured by quarters with vested interests who are driven mainly by self-preservation," he said.
"We also need to keep our focus on pursuing our goal of improving the lives of the people for the remainder of the President's term and beyond."
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.
Aquino, speaking in an interview with a local television network, was asked whether Charter changes would allow him to seek a second term in 2016.
"When I got into this, I remembered it is for one term of six years," he replied.
"Now after having said that, of course I have to listen to my bosses," he added, using his usual reference to the Filipino people. "But that doesn't mean...that I will automatically chase after another term, right?"
It was Aquino's first comment on reconsidering his stated position against amending the constitution passed during the term of his mother Corazon, who was closely associated with the re-establishment of a democratic order.
Any constitutional amendment would require a vote of three quarters in Congress and convocation of a constitutional convention. Aquino's allies currently dominate both houses of Congress.
Past presidents have considered charter amendments, but faced intense public criticism for attempting to extend their term of office. Aquino, who has put in place reforms in the fiscal sector that earned the country its first investment grade rating, is likely to face similar public reaction.
Some legislators, including the speaker of the lower chamber of Congress, have actively pushed for changes to the constitution, particularly to economic provisions that capped foreign investments into the country.
Recently, Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas, a chief ally of Aquino and one of the leaders of the administration party, voiced his personal opinion Aquino should seek a second term.
Aquino also said charter changes would allow for a review of the courts' powers as a check on other branches of government. With a report by Reuters