"Bless the president so we will have forebearance, good health, the tolerance to lead the nation up to 2010, and perhaps who knows, even beyond."
Whether this statement was a slip of the tongue, a signal for action, or a trial balloon, only Press Secretary and Presidential spokesperson Jesus Dureza knows.
But to many, Dureza's prayer for a term extension for President Arroyo was more like a dream that's not likely to come true--at least, not without amending the constitution.
"Yun ang wish niya siguro, pero paano mangyari yun? No matter what they want in the Palace, it will not happen if Congress will not amend the Constitution and the people approve it," says Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
And even if Enrile himself is for charter change, he says this is no guarantee the measure would pass the chamber where there are 22 other members.
Senator Manuel 'Mar' Roxas is convinced Malacañang's slip was showing in so far as the real motives for charter change or cha-cha was concerned.
"Ito ay isang dahilan kung bakit ang ating kababayan, walang tiwala sa administrasyon dahil sa nakikita nila na itong pagbabago kuno sa saligang batas para sa kabutihan ng bansa ay pagpahaba talaga sa termino ng pangulo," he says.
A resolution is being circulated among congressmen stating that by virtue of their superior numbers, they can amend the Constitution without need of Senate action.
Senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero suspects Dureza was floating the idea to gauge public reaction.
"Tingin ko nagtra-trial balloon sila para tingnan kung ano ang magiging reaksyon ng taongbayan sa pamamagitan ng isyung ito na pinapadaan muna sa joke bago maging seryoso sa mga darating na linggo," he says.
As for the president's unconcealed expression of dismay, the suspicious Escudero says, "Baka kasama sa script yon."
Arroyo ally-turned-critic Dinky Soliman, former social welfare secretary, believes Dureza's prayer was a sign to start moves for term extension.
And by her actions, says Soliman, the President showed she was not totally against the idea. "Maaaring hindi raw ng alam ng pangulo na sasabhin ito ni Dureza sa dasal. Pero ang tanong: nagalit ba siya? Hindi. Natuwa siya."