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AFP distances from Aquino term extension issue

Posted On 2014 Aug 15
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President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulates Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr. after administering the oath in a ceremony at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Monday (August 11). (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulates Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr. after administering the oath in a ceremony at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Monday (August 11). (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured on Thursday that it would remain “apolitical and nonpartisan” despite calls for President Benigno Aquino III’s term extension.

“That’s something very political. We remain apolitical and nonpartisan,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr. when asked by reporters during the turn-over ceremony of military riffles at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on the openness of Aquino to a second term.

Catapang said the calls for Aquino to make another run for the presidency are a product of a “vibrant democracy.”

“It’s just an opinion, a talk of the town,” he said.

“These things are things that are products of a vibrant democracy and the political dynamics that is now happening in our country,” he added.

The military chief said it would not interfere in the political landscape of the country.

Earlier this month, a social media campaign called “One More Term: Re-Elect P-Noy for 2016” recently flooded pages on Facebook and Twitter, supposedly emanating from Aquino’s official Facebook account, which has more than 4 million followers.

Also, some members of the Senate and House of Representatives supported the idea of Aquino’s term extension.

However, for Aquino to make another run for the presidency after his term in 2016, the term limits set by the 1987 Constitution would have to be lifted.

He has previously consistently rejected moves to amend the constitution. But during an exclusive interview with TV5 on Wednesday, he was singing a different tune.

“Before all of these happened, I admit I had a closed mind. But now I realized that there is judicial reach. Congress and the executive may act but they can be punished anytime,” he told TV5 legal analyst Mel Sta. Maria who asked if he was still not amenable to Charter change. (MNS)

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