Chiz says Cha-cha a 'trial balloon'

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2014 02:45 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2014 12:21 AM

MANILA - Senator Chiz Escudero once again expressed his opposition to amend the 1987 Constitution, particularly the plan to lift the six-year term that would give President Benigno Aquino III or any sitting president a fresh mandate.

At a media forum today, Escudero assured the public that he will not support any move in the Senate that will change any provision in the Charter - a position he has maintained since he assumed public office.

"Hindi ko papahintulutang mangyari o maganap lalo na kung ang partikular na usapan ay term extension o pag-aalis ng term limit," he said.

According to Escudero, any talk of Charter change (Cha-cha) in order to pursue term extension should have been addressed from start of an administration in order to avoid speculation.

"Matagal ko nang posisyon yan, na ang Cha-cha ay dapat ginagawa yan sa simula ng termino ng sino mang pangulo para walang alinlangan, walang duda na ito'y para sa kapakanan ng lahat, ng pangkalahatan, at hindi lamang ng iilang pulitiko," he said.

While Escudero believes that Cha-cha would not happen any time soon, he also emphasized that he will fight any move to amend the Constitution in order to weaken the Supreme Court.

"Hindi rin po ako sang-ayon doon dahil kung titingnan natin ang kasaysayan, pinalakas talaga ang Korte Suprema ng Saligang Batas bugso ng naging karanasan natin sa dating administrasyon ni Pangulong Marcos kung saan naging napakalakas, naging napakamapang-abuso ng pangulo."

"Kung papahinain natin ang Korte Suprema, baka pag dumating ho iyong panahon na may mapang-abuso tayong pangulo - at hindi yun si Pangulong Aquino -- e wala na ho tayong Korte Supremang matatakbuhan," he added.

When asked why there was a lot of chatter about extending Aquino's term which is ending in 2016, Escudero said it could be a "trial balloon" or an attempt to deflect criticisms portraying the Chief Executive as a "lame duck" President.

"Sa tingin ko ang rason at dahilan sa likod niyan ay para huwag muna siyang balewalain, para hindi muna siya maituring na lame duck dahil at least hindi man totoo, ay may usapan sa pagpapalawig ng termino," he explained.

Knowing the President, Escudero said he is already counting the days to leaving Malacañang and live a simple and normal life like everybody else.

"The President and his family have already given their share and more to the country. He deserves to get his own life back, and I think he is looking forward to that day to come in 2016."