MANILA (AFP) – Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday ruled out any attempt to seek a second term, a highly controversial proposition that would have required the rewriting of the constitution.
Aquino in August had hinted at such a possibility. But he quickly ran into opposition in a nation still haunted by the dictatorial rule of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.
Aquino, who was elected by a landslide in 2010, is limited by the constitution to a single six-year term.
“There are some quarters that were saying I should try and go for a second term. I don’t think that’s a right solution,” he said in a speech to businessmen.
Aquino instead urged voters to “discern properly” who to vote for in the 2016 elections for his successor.
The president had previously hinted that he might seek to rewrite the constitution, possibly allowing him to run for re-election.
His remarks were met with much criticism. Surveys also showed that the majority of Filipinos opposed this option.
The Philippines is still coping with the scars left by Marcos who declared martial law in 1972 in order to stay in power even after his term ended.
Marcos was finally overthrown in a military-backed popular revolt in 1986 after years of human rights abuses and massive corruption.
Aquino, whose parents were both pro-democracy leaders who opposed Marcos, called on voters to choose someone who would continue his policies.
He has previously said he favoured his ally, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, as his successor.
But Roxas has lagged in election surveys behind Vice-President Jejomar Binay, who is head of the main opposition alliance.
In the Philippines, the president and vice-president are elected separately.