Enrile will not support GMA term extension

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SENATE President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday said he will not support any move to extend the stay in office of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other elective officials beyond their mandated terms of office nor will he back plans to “dispense with or postpone” the 2010 elections.

Enrile reiterated that he would lead senators in questioning before the Supreme Court moves emanating before the House of Representatives seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution through a Constituent Assembly with the two chambers voting jointly rather than separately.

“I am vehemently against any move to extend the terms of elective government officials including the President and I will not support any move to dispense with or postpone the elections in 2010,” Enrile said.

“If need be, I will lead the Senate in opposing and challenging the legality of moves emanating from the House of Representatives to oppose changes in the Charter through a Constituent Assembly that will render the Senate inutile by the insistence of House members that they can undertake this effort via joint voting rather than the two Houses voting separately,” he added.

Enrile revealed he was willing to appear and argue his case before the Supreme Court.

Enrile explained he was in favor of amending certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution especially plans to shift to a unicameral legislature as well as plans to review the economic provisions in order to help the country cope with the need to encourage investments and enable it to compete in the international market.

As Senate President, however, Enrile pointed out, he must ensure that the Chamber “remains united against dubious designs and schemes to amend the Constitution to serve the interests of the incumbents and other vested political interests.”

“I have sworn to protect and fight for the Senate as an institution and if need be, at the proper time, I am willing to argue the case myself before the Supreme Court,” Enrile said.

In Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo reiterated the palace’s opposition against extending the term of President Arroyo, amid the growing resistance against Charter change which is widely perceived as a move to prolong her tenure.