IBP says no to PNoy term extension

Posted at 08/25/2014 5:03 PM

MANILA - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) reiterated its "unequivocal" opposition against any move to amend the 1987 Constitution to clip the powers of the Supreme Court (SC) and extend the term of the President.

The IBP, which joined Monday's rally at the Luneta, released an official statement on its position, calling on President Aquino to reflect on his pronouncement.

The IBP called Aquino's reasons for amending the charter as "ridiculous."

"The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is impelled to state for the record its official unequivocal opposition to amend the 1987 Constitution for the purpose of clipping the power of the Supreme Court and allowing Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to seek a 2nd term for the presidency of the country."

"The President should reexamine his position in seeking a second term and of tinkering with the Constitution through his allies in the Congress," the statement read.

The IBP said the expanded judicial power vested in the Supreme Court by the very same Constitution adopted during the incumbency of Aquino's mother, the late President Cory Aquino, has a specific and noble purpose.

The IBP called on Aquino to uphold the rule of law.

"The men and women who authored that Freedom Constitution, just freed from a dictatorship, had reason to expand judicial power and the concommitant power of judicial review. They were men and women of probity, competence and integrity.

"To cite the purported need to amend because he (Aquino) lost in the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) case where the program was declared unconstitutional, simply taxes our credulity, undermines and defies reason and puts to great doubt the ability of the President to govern under a rule of law," the statement read.

The IBP also slammed threats to impeach justices of the high court on the heels of its rulings against the pork barrel system and DAP, adding that this undermined the separation of powers of the branches of government.

The high court, in separate decisions, declared the pork barrel system and DAP as unconstitutional.

"This comes in the midst of an assault to our elementary sene of order where a constitutional institution like the Supreme Court in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers is being bullied to submission under threat of impeachment of the justices relative to their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) and the congressional investigation of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)," the statement read.

The IBP said Aquino should listen to the lessons of the past and to the "memories of the sufferings and sacrifices of the Filipino people under the former dictatorship."

"No way and never again, no, never!" the IBP said.