MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday expressed opposition to call for President Benigno Aquino III to seek a second term, calling the supposed clamour that emerged through a social media campaign as "politically-divisive."
Binay, who is eyeing the presidential post in 2016, said he is confident that the President will follow the example of his mother who declined requests for her to seek reelection after her term expired on June 30, 1992.
"It was a selfish proposal to begin with, motivated more by personal rather than national interest," Binay said, implicitly taking a swipe at archrival Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who made a pitch on Wednesday for an extension of the President's term through a change in the Constitution.
"It was also unfair to the President. The proposal put him on the spot and made him the object of criticisms, which he doesn't deserve," the Vice President said in a statement yesterday.
Binay said those who made the proposal "don't know the President," who he described as a decent person who will not cling to power.
"He is a student of history, and he won't tarnish his mother's good name just to please some personalities," he said.
On Friday, an opposition lawmaker even threatened to go to the Supreme Court if administration allies in Congress were to push constitutional amendments to allow a term extension for Mr. Aquino in 2016.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares raised fears that the idea of a term extension for the President might be another motive behind the planned Charter change (Cha-cha), which was initially only directed at certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
"As things are playing out now, Cha-cha's target is not just the economic provisions but the political ones as well and chief among them is term extension," he said in a statement.
"We will continue to oppose Cha-cha and would do so with more fervour now because more is at stake. The term extension move is unconstitutional and we will file a case to challenge this at the Supreme Court if they would persist with this move," he said.
The senior deputy minority leader said there was no real public clamour for Mr. Aquino to remain president after 2016, contrary to claims by its proponents, among them Roxas, who floated the idea in a recent interview.
"The proposed term extension is nothing more than an attempt for the Aquino administration to stay in power, and not a clamour of a discontented people," Colmenares said.