MANILA: Any attempt to amend the Constitution to allow President Aquino to extend his term will not succeed in the House of Representatives, a leader of the chamber said yesterday.
The lawmaker, who is also an official of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), said Filipinos remain suspicious of any move to change the political provisions of the Constitution, particularly the term limits of the president and other elected officials.
“How many times were there attempts since the 1990s to amend the political provisions and lift term limits... not only did they not succeed, but there were many protests and cases against them,” the senior administration lawmaker, who declined to be named, said.
“This has no chance at all. There is no way this (lifting of term limits) will happen in the manner allowed by the Constitution, unless it will be done extra-constitutional or outside the Constitution,” the source said.
The LP has yet to come up with an official position on Aquino’s controversial pronouncements on Wednesday that he is open to seeking a second term.
LP stalwarts said there is no word yet on whether the party would come up with an official stand, considering that many of its members in the House remain cool to political Charter change.
“No signal at all from the top leaders,” an LP lawmaker said.
Other political parties allied with the administration have also yet to come out in support of political Charter change.
Administration lawmakers earlier warned that pushing for lifting of term limits would endanger efforts to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution. Resolution of Both Houses No 1, which seeks to allow greater foreign ownership of certain industries, is now pending in the plenary.
Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza, in a statement, said any move to tinker with political provisions of the Constitution would not take off in the House because Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr himself had promised not to let the chamber touch those provisions.
“I don’t think Speaker Belmonte would be party to any effort that would destroy President Cory’s and our national hero Ninoy Aquino’s revered place in Philippine history,” Atienza said.
Six months ago, Atienza initiated the signing of a pledge among lawmakers that any amendment to the Constitution would be limited to economic provisions.
Signatories to the pledge had promised to resign if they support political changes in the Charter.
Some LP members were clueless about what the President was really up to.
The Philippine star