MANILA - Malacañang on Saturday stressed that President Benigno Aquino III did not directly say that he would seek reelection in 2016.
Speaking to radio dzMM, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma pointed out that what Aquino said was that he would listen to the voice of his "bosses" -- the Filipino people -- on how his reforms would continue beyond 2016.
But that does not automatically mean the President will seek another term, Coloma said.
"Wala po akong ganyang natunghayan kahit na po repasuhin natin ang transcript ng buong interview," he said, pertaining to Aquino's interview with TV-5 last Wednesday.
He noted that during the interview, the President only said he was considering constitutional changes to ensure that the reforms his administration has started would still continue.
The 1987 Constitution restricts the President to a single term of six years.
"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," Aquino had said. But he added, "It doesn't automatically mean I will go after an additional term."
"Sinabi naman po niya (Aquino)... 'Ang mahalaga sa akin gusto ko malaman mula sa kanila (bosses) kung paano maipapatuloy ang mga reporma at transpormasyon na nasimulan na para maging permanent ito,'" Coloma said.
"Kaya siguro po unawain natin sa ganung konteksto. At ang sumunod pang pangungusap, sinabi niya 'Hindi naman automatic na dahil sinabi ko ito ay papalawigin ang ating termino,'" he said.
On Friday, presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte also defended Aquino. She said that more than anyone else, it is Aquino who is aware of the democratic legacy of his parents.
She said Aquino's statements on Charter change and term extension should be read in full and in context.
She also said that the President did not say that Charter change would be undertaken tomorrow, next week or in the next few months.
Coloma added: "Siguro po hintayin na lang po natin kung ano mangyayari hinggil diyan. Ang nais ko lang pong i-emphasize yun pong kahalagahan sa Pangulo na malaman ang saloobin ng mamamayan hinggil sa pagpapatuloy ng reform."