By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Aug. 14 (PNA) – Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III supported on Thursday the statement of President Benigno S. Aquino III expressing openness to amend the 1987 Constitution, specifically on the term of the President and the powers of the Supreme Court (SC).
”I am really open-minded in the Charter change. In fact, my original position has been to review not only the economic provision but also the setup of the political system in the country,” Pimentel said in a Senate media interview.
Pimentel has even pushed for the review of the entire Constitution, including the term of the President from single six-year to two four-year terms.
”If we are going to review, it should be the entirety of the Constitution and not pretend that we will limit it to the economic provision. Let it be the entire Constitution, including the term of office of the President,” Pimentel said.
”Instead of single term of six years, why not go back to two four-year term so that the election of the sitting president would be a referendum or a review of his performance for his first four-year term,” Pimentel explained.
Although he said there was nothing wrong for the President to express his opinion on second term, Pimentel believes President Aquino will not take advantage of a chance to be reelected.
”My prediction is that he (President Aquino) will not take advantage,” Pimentel said.
He also favored to review the powers of the judiciary although he stressed the importance of maintaining the function of the SC as the supreme interpreter of the law.
”For me, it’s a good idea that we have the last defender of our citizens in case they feel they are being abused by one agency or instrumentality or department of the government,” Pimentel explained.
When asked if he will take the initiative to change the Charter in the Senate, Pimentel said he is busy as chairman of the Senate electoral reform.
”Let me think about it if I will take initiative for the Cha-cha here in the Senate,” said Pimentel, adding there are other senators who are open-minded in amending the Constitution.
”If Cha-cha is in the agenda, we will talk about it,” he added.
Pimentel, meanwhile, insisted that he will strongly oppose if a no-election proposal will be floated with only two years left before the 2016 national elections.
”No election scenario is to be avoided at all cost and cannot be justified,” Pimentel said. (PNA)