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Bishops frown at calls for constitutional change, possible term extension

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MANILA, August 17, 2014–Several bishops from various parts of the Philippines expressed concern over reports of possible constitutional change and President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino’s intention to hold on beyond 2016 due to an alleged people’s clamor.

Asked of their opinion about media reports of a possible changes in the constitution to reduce the judicial reach and possible term extension, the bishops shared their views through text messages.

Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said there’s no clamor in South Cotabato and whatever calls for constitutional change and possible term extension come from “kapartido, kaklase, kalaro, etc.”

Calbayog Bishop Isabelo C. Abarquez said when the issue of constitutional change was first brought to President Aquino’s attention he said he is against it.

“Why would he move for Con-Con now that he’s ending his term?” the bishop asked. He said it would be better to wait for a new president in 2016 “if our political leaders are really serious on the issue.

“Constitutional change should be done not for personal or political interest but for the good of the country and for the common good,” he concluded.

Jaro Archbishop and former Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President (CBCP) Angel N. Lagdameo said he does not agree with charter change “especially with term extension of officials including the president.”

For Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso, the call for a constitutional convention or special assembly to change the country’s charter “just to accommodate an agenda of one is an exorbitant exercise.”

Another bishop, Novaliches Bisho Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Jr. said he feels sorry for President Aquino. “He is hearing an illusory clamor and shows his term should not be extended,” he said.

Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Jose Sorra said while he agrees to changes in the country’s constitution, he is against presidential term extension.

Kalookan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez, Jr. said the country’s Constitution may always be opened for amendments “but the motive for this particular move is questionable.” (Melo M. Acuna)


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