Belmonte advises PNoy on term extension

Posted at 08/29/14 11:21 AM

MANILA - Speaker Sonny Belmonte has some advice for President Aquino who now has less than two years left in his term.

"Let's concentrate on doing the most we can during these next two years. You have built so much in the first four years. Let me tell you that a lot of these things that has happened in our country cannot have happened if you have a President who is used to covering things up," he said in an ANC Headstart interview.

Aquino has come under fire for allegedly opening the door to a possible term extension after he expressed support for Charter change.

On Thursday he told Bombo Radyo Philippines that his main goal in pushing for Charter change is to address "judicial over-reach" by the Supreme Court.

Belmonte said he does not support Charter change that would allow the lifting of term limits for elected officials. "At this stage of the game, it's a very divisive thing," he said.

He said framers of the 1987 Constitution imposed the one six-year term limit for a sitting President after President Ferdinand Marcos stayed in office for over 20 years after imposing martial law.

The Speaker, however, said his own impression is that President Aquino is "not at all contemplating (term extension)."

He also clarified that Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas is the Liberal Party's leading candidate for the 2016 presidential election but that does not mean it's a done deal.

Belmonte, meanwhile, said he supports Charter change only in the context of amending the Constitution's economic provisions.

He said amending these provisions could spell the difference between the Philippines racing to the head of the pack in the region or remaining mired in economic stagnation.

He said the right conditions must be created to allow more foreign investments to come into the country.

"We're not talking about hot money that comes in and out of our Stock Exchange...What we want are foreign investments into industries that will create jobs, long-lasting jobs, not jobs for a few months and so forth and i think that is really one of the keys to raising the poverty levels in our country," he said.

"We just want to see to it the Philippines is not handcuffed at a time when its neighbors are Pacquiao punching around. Tayo naman nakatali," he added.