President remains opposed to Cha-cha, says he won’t influence allies–Palace official

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, March 4 (PNA) — With other priorities in mind, Malacanang on Tuesday maintained that President Benigno S. Aquino III is still opposed to Charter Change despite his allies pursuits to pass bills amending the Constitution.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a Palace briefing that he was sure that if the President would be asked if he were for Cha-cha himself, his answer would be the same.

“The president has consistently expressed his opposition to charter change and for a good reason,” Coloma said. “He has stated this not only within the country but even in foreign lands where he has made visits.”

Coloma explained that the issue on Cha-cha was also raised in an open forum when the President visited South Korea last October.

“He said (explicitly) that he does not believe this (Cha-cha) was necessary…he was addressing a group of foreign investors,” the PCOO chief said.

Coloma also said that the President was not the type that “interfered” with the process in the Congress.

“For people to say that there should be Presidential action on what the Congress is doing now, I think it’s to tread on the issue of separation of powers,” he said.

The PCOO chief stressed that it was not a priority of the President because he was still too preoccupied with governance among other matters.

“Sa ngayon, hindi priyoridad ng Pangulo ang usapin na iyan at marami siyang pinagkakaabahalan na sa kaniyang pananaw ay mas mataas ang priyoridad,” Coloma said.

“We would really prefer to focus on implementing the Philippine Development Plans especially considering that as of today there are exactly 849 days left until June 30, 2016 and we’re determined to use each day to the fullest extent in implementing our development programs,” he stressed.(PNA)