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MANILA - President Benigno Aquino hinting at a new term in office and clipping the Supreme Court's powers threaten Philippine democracy, The New York Times said Thursday.
In an editorial titled "Political Mischief in the Philippines," The New York Times believes that Aquino should step down from office when his term ends in 2016.
It added that the President should stop taking potshots at the high court for declaring parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.
The newspaper said Aquino running for the presidency again and limiting the Supreme Court's authority will both require adjusting the Constitution.
"These threats jeopardize Philippine democracy," it said.
"Mr. Aquino wants more time to complete his reform programs, but there will always be unfinished business," it added.
"Mr. Aquino should uphold the Constitution of a fragile democracy if only out of respect for his father, who was assassinated in the struggle against Marcos, and for his mother, who died in 2009 after leading the “people power” that triumphed over the excesses and abuses of the presidency," the New York Times said.
"In practical terms, that means he should stop butting heads with the court and gracefully step down when his term is up," it said.
Speaking to Bombo Radyo Philippines, Aquino hinted at stepping down when asked about his plans for 2016.
However, he made no categorical statement if he wants another term.
"One year, 10 months from now palagay ko kasama ko si Asec. Marfil at Asec. Delantar... July 1, the day after bumaba kami sa pwesto, kakain kami ng masarap talaga, tapos may streamer na nakalagay sa likod 'Kalayaan,'" he said.
But in the same interview, Aquino also admitted that there are ongoing consultations on the issue of lifting term limits.
"Sa ngayon nagkokonsulta tayo sa iba't-ibang sektor at tinatanong natin... Pa'no natin masisigurado na 'yun naumpisahan natin ay maging permanente?" he said.
The president said there is public clamor for another term.
"May pinuntahan akong burol. May lumapit sa aking ale na hindi ko kilala. Ang sabi niya sa akin, 'Huwag po ninyong iiwan 'yong Pilipinas,'" he said." Tapos inulit niya, 'Kailangan pa namin ho kayo. Marami pa hong kailangang gawin. Dapat ituloy na ho ninyo,'" Aquino said.
With talk of a term extension are efforts to remove Aquino from office before his time is up.
There are three impeachment complaints against him being debated at the House justice committee.
Aquino, however, appears unfazed.
"Naniniwala ako magkakaroon tayo ng katarungan diyan. At saka tingnan natin sino ang nag-file, ano. Karamihan naman ho mga masasabi nating miyembro ng mga kaliwang grupo na kung nagagalit sila sa akin at kayo na ho siguro ang testigo ilang beses ba silang nagra-rally sa bahay namin sa Times na alam naman nating wala ako doon. Iyon talagang masyado nila akong pine-personal," he said.
As far as the President is concerned, many still trust his leadership. - with reports from Jing Castaneda and Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News; ANC