Monday, November 30, 2009

Gordon, Fernando announce tandem in 2010 polls


12/01/2009 | 01:14 PM


Here come the "transformers."

That's how Senator Richard Gordon and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Bayani Fernando want to be called as they officially announced Tuesday their tandem for the May 2010 presidential elections.

"You can call us the transformers. We are here to transform the nation," Gordon said at a news conference held at the Senate press office in Pasay City.

Gordon and Fernando were accompanied by their respective wives, former Olongapo Mayor Kate Gordon and Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando.

The two are to file their certificates of candidacy before the Commission on Elections in Intramuros, Manila later in the day.

Gordon and Bayani will be running under the former's Bagumbayan Party which was accredited by the Comelec as a political party two months ago.

Gordon said they will not be fielding any senatorial candidates "because [they] are willing to work with everybody."

"Pareho kami ng values, pareho ng vision (We share the same values, we share the same vision)," the senator added, referring to his tandem with Fernando, who earlier sought to be the standard bearer of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD but lost the nomination to former Defense chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

Fernando said it was him who tried to convince Gordon to be his running mate although it was the latter who eventually convinced the former to run as vice president.

Gordon said he agreed to team up with Fernando because he witnessed how the latter transformed Marikina City the same way that he transformed Olongapo City.

"BF is a great mayor of Marikina, may character talaga. We are the most experienced, we have the vision, we have the ability to transform the nation. We are the national executives of the country. We are the mayors of the Philippines," he said. - Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMANews.TV


Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/178226/gordon-fernando-announce-tandem-in-2010-polls

Jamby files COC for president, plans solo campaign


ANDREO C. CALONZO, GMANews.TV
12/01/2009 | 09:08 AM


Determined to pull off a one-woman show in her presidential bid for 2010, Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby" Madrigal filed Tuesday her certificate of candidacy (COC) for the country’s highest post.

At the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Manila, Madrigal, clad in a neon-green blazer, said she will run as an independent candidate in 2010 without a running mate and senatorial slate to prove that she is not a traditional presidential aspirant, but "a candidate of the people."

"I shall run without a vice president and without a senatorial slate to allow all like-minded candidates and people to unite under a shared and genuine progressive vision and platform of government based on principled politics," Madrigal said.

Moreover, she said she wants to go on a solo presidential campaign so as not to be indebted to any party or big businessmen who fuel the machinery of other candidates.

"My family has left me enough to run a decent campaign," she said.

Madrigal also said that if elected president, she will prioritize abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

"I plan to prioritize the needs of the Filipinos and not of foreign investors. I want to reassert the Filipino sovereignty," the senator said.

Madrigal, who was elected senator during the 2004 national elections, has opposed these two agreements during her stay in the Senate.

The 51-year old senator, granddaughter of former Chief Justice and Japanese occupation hero Jose Abad Santos, has authored and sponsored bills on the protection of the environment and of women while in Senate. These include a measure for the imposition of total log ban in the country, as well as a repeal of the controversial Mining Act of 1995. - LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV


Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/178205/jamby-files-coc-for-president-plans-solo-campaign

'PGMA unable to fulfill duties by running'


abs-cbnNEWS.com | 12/01/2009 11:59 AM


MANILA - A lawyer on Tuesday said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may be violating her oath of office by choosing to run for a local post while sitting as chief executive.

Amado Valdez, dean of the University of the East College of Law, told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda (UKG) that Mrs. Arroyo will not be able to fulfill her duties as president of the Philippines by running for Congress without quitting her post.

"She will be violating her oath of office that 'she will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill her duties as president'," he said.

As an example, Valdez raised the possibility of public officials from Pampanga's 2nd district being accused of violating election laws. As president, Mrs. Arroyo would have to take administrative actions against them, such as suspending them or removing them from their posts.

However, since she is still the sitting president, she will not be able to fulfill faithfully and conscientiously fulfill her duties as chief executive considering that she is also running for representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga.

"There would be conflict of interest," Valdez added.

He urged President Arroyo to take a leave of absence and let Vice-President Noli de Castro assume the presidency until a new president is proclaimed next year.

But Valdez said one possible reason why Arroyo does not want to resign is because she will lose her immunity from suit.

"One of the effects of her filing of candidacy [for representative of Pampanga's 2nd district], she goes to the level of an ordinary candidate and her immunity from suit will be gone," Valdez said.

Opposition leaders have threatened to file graft and corruption cases against the president after she steps down in 2010.

Valdez said Vice-President Noli de Castro can take over the presidency until a new president is proclaimed after the May 2010 elections.

Valdez also advised Mrs. Arroyo's critics to immediately question her candidacy either before the Supreme Court or the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Not ready to leave

Mrs. Arroyo filed her certificate of candidacy (CoC) at the Comelec office in San Fernando City in Pampanga Tuesday morning.

The President announced on Monday that she was not yet ready to leave public service and that she has decided to run for Congress. She would be the second Philippine president to seek a local elective post after serving as president.

The first was Jose P. Laurel who served as president from 1943 to 1945 during the Japanese Occupation. After the war, he became a senator.

Mrs. Arroyo made the announcement after "visits" from her would-be constituents from Pampanga's 2nd District. The province's local leaders, including mayors, earlier passed a manifesto urging her to run for congresswoman.

"While I am very much looking forward to stepping down as president at the end of my term, I am mulling different ways to stay involved. Tiningnan ko ang pagbalik sa pagturo; I also studied working with nonprofit organizations on issues ranging from the environment to women's issues. After much contemplation I realized I am not ready to step down completely from public service," she said in a speech on Monday.

Casiño: GMA a megalomaniac

Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said in a text message that President Arroyo is a "megalomaniac." He said the President is "a person who is obsessed with their own power; a person who has delusions about his own power and importance."

Sen. Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party, meanwhile, said he believes Mrs. Arroyo's decision was a form of political survival.

"I am not surprised. She is still motivated by political survival at all costs," Pangilinan said.

He said a President running for a local post would be demeaning.

"But to PGMA, nothing is demeaning when it comes to political survival," he said.

as of 12/01/2009 11:59 AM


Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/12/01/09/pgma-unable-fulfill-duties-running

Gibo: Under GMA’s shadow


By Leilani Chavez, abs-cbnNEWS.com | 12/01/2009 9:16 AM


MANILA – Clad in his trademark green shirt, presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro Jr has the makings of a champion: mestizo good looks, a commanding but amiable presence, and an esteemed educational background. When he swaggers through the room, people turn. When he talks, everybody listens.

But despite the demeanor, political analysts say he lacks the so-called masa appeal that will win him the presidency. Another major drawback is his association with the current administration, which is faring negatively in net satisfaction ratings.

Teodoro is barely figuring in the polls. His ratings in recent popular surveys were lower than 1% and even after being endorsed by the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats, his ratings barely increased to 4% in the latest Social Weathers Stations survey. Results from the October Pulse Asia survey also showed Teodoro’s rating as a meager 2%.

The executives of the ruling party, however, seem unfazed by the figures. According to Regie Velasco, secretary general of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the vast machinery of the party will bring Teodoro victory in 2010. “Local [candidates] will bring the national candidate. No other party could claim the same advantage as Lakas,” he says.

Formidable as it may be, analysts agree that the administration party can work as both Teodoro’s ace and disadvantage.

The merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD brings together around 1,677 incumbent local executives under its roof. According to reports, 71 governors, 62 city mayors, and 984 municipal mayors are under the Lakas banner. There are also 139 out of 216 Lakas-Kampi members in the House of Representatives.

Some of its members, however, are leaving to join the Liberal Party and Nacionalista Party, whose standard bearers are topping the surveys. “The party is big but it has no power. Survey ratings will come first before local chiefs support Teodoro,” Ramon Casiple of Institute of Political and electoral reforms, says.

Blood ties

A seasoned lawyer, Teodoro is one of the scions of the prominent Cojuangco clan of Tarlac. He is the sole son of former Social Securities Systems head Gilberto Teodoro Sr and Mercedes Cojuangco, the sister of business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco of the San Miguel Group. His mother is also the first cousin of former president and democracy icon Corazon Aquino, the mother of current Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno Aquino III.

When he entered politics as a representative of the 1st district of Tarlac in 1998, he headed the Nationalists People’s Coalition, a party Cojuango created for his failed 1992 presidential bid. Teodoro was dubbed as Cojuangco’s “political son” and was said to be closer to “Tito Danding” than the latter’s sons.

“Ang relationship namin ni Tito Danding, natural ‘yun sa pulitika. Minentor niya ‘ko…sa ilalim ng NPC. Nag-umpisa ako as congressman, siya personal ang tumutulong sa pagkakampanya ko,” he tells broadcaster Cheche Lazaro in an interview for Probe Profiles.
This time around, Teodoro is not expecting any support—both financial and personal—from his uncle. Rumors surfaced of an alleged friction between the two even before Teodoro left NPC to join the administration party. Teodoro denied any rift but claimed severing ties with the older Cojuangco, saying they have different views.

The businessman too, showed disinterest in financing Teodoro’s campaign and downplayed a coalition between Lakas-Kampi-CMD and NPC. Further fueling the fire are reports that Cojuangco will allegedly support the congressional bid of his younger brother against Teodoro’s wife, current Tarlac representative Monica Prieto-Teodoro, in 2010.

‘Be your own man’

To survive President Gloria Arroyo’s “kiss of death,” Benito Lim, political science professor, stresses that Teodoro should “be his own man.” Tuazon agrees and says that Teodoro should show that “he is not Gloria [Arroyo].”

During his 9-year stint in the House of Representatives, Teodoro has consistently sided with Arroyo. He voted to trash impeachment complaints filed against Arroyo in the lower house, and has openly supported motions for a Constituent Assembly in 2006.

His loyalty paid off when he was appointed secretary of national defense in 2007 and eventually became the standard bearer of the merged administration party. Teodoro strongly pushes for the amendment of the 1986 Constitution, triggering debates that he is merely a front man in Arroyo’s pursuit to remain in power beyond 2010.

As chief of national defense, Teodoro always supports Arroyo’s platforms, saying it is improper for him to go against the powers that put him in his current position. He also said in an interview in DZMM that if he is the president, he also wants his cabinet members to support him.

Teodoro is unlikely to show his independence, says Lim.

Overcome Noynoy, Villar

Teodoro needs to beef up his “personality factor,” Tuazon of the Center for People Empowerment and Governance says. “He should speak eloquent Filipino and he should transcend the mestizo look. People want somebody coming from them. He has to appear masa,” he adds.

Aside from edging up Teodoro’s “personality factor,” he should also beef up his own platforms. “He appears to be somebody with no clear programs. He’s only continuing Arroyo’s programs,” Tuazon says.

According to Casiple, the former defense chief needs to beat Aquino’s momentum and credibility as a reform candidate. “He has to portray himself as a reformer, someone who is more responsive to the needs of the people.”

Always trailing behind the surveys, Teodoro finally gained the spotlight during the onslaught of tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng. But the performance of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, which he heads, was criticized for its lack of preparedness.

Similarly, the recent Maguindanao massacre will not beef up his ability to snag the presidency from Aquino and Villar. “It’s a very big negative factor against Gibo (Teodoro’s monicker)… He is still Gloria [Arroyo] and the massacre is a dark spot for Arroyo’s administration,” Tuazon claims.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD, however, is still confident that once the party comes out with campaign advertisements, Teodoro will become the voters’ top choice. In his latest advertisement, doe-eyed Teodoro narrates his platform for 2010—political unity, quality employment, education for all, health care. The straightforward infomercial highlights his credentials and insists that a proper candidate should not only use his heart but also his head. But whether his advertisement delivers the votes Teodoro need has yet to be seen.

as of 12/01/2009 11:08 AM


Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/12/01/09/gibo-under-gma%E2%80%99s-shadow

2010 presidential bets may reach 50

By E.T. SUAREZ
November 29, 2009, 4:58pm


When former President Joseph Estrada of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando file Monday their respective certificates of candidacy for President as they had earlier announced, there will already be a total of 50 presidentiables for the May 10, 2010 polls whose names are listed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

And when the filing of candidacy ends midnight tomorrow, the total number of those desiring to become the country’s highest official would be more than 50 as Lakas-Kampi-CMD fficial presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro, and Sen. Manual Villar of the Nationalista Party (NP) are expected to beat the filing deadline.

The presidential and vice presidential tandem of Estrada and Makati City Mayor Jejomar C. Binay, along with their senatorial candidates are scheduled to file their certificates of candidacy Monday with the Comelec Law Department headed by Director Ferdinand T. Rafanan.

Expected to be with them are PMP senatorial bets Senate President Joseph Estrada, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, whistle-blower Jose de Venecia III, daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr. Grace oe-Llamanzares, and Rep. R. Ompong Plaza.

Fernando, who lost to Teodoro before during the Lakas-Kampi-CMD Executive Committee meeting, maintained that he will pursue his presidential plans and has been negotiating with different personalities and groups for his running mate.

The tandem of Sen. Noynoy Aquino and Sen. Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party (LP) filed their centificates of candidacy last Saturday accompanied by LP senatorial bets lawyer Alex Lacson, Rep. Riza Hontiveros Baraquel, Mrs. Sonia Roco, Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, former Rep. Nereus Acosta, former NEDA Director General Ralph Recto and Rep. Rozanno iazon. Detained Army Gen. Danny Lim is LP guest candidate for senator.

Others who have filed their certificates of candidacy for President are lawyer Oliver Lozano and perennial candidate lawyer Ely Pamatong.


Source: http://mb.com.ph/node/231820/2010-pre

Villar vows to address poverty, corruption


By ROLLY T. CARANDANG
November 30, 2009, 6:13pm


Senators Manny Villar and Loren Legarda acknowledge the cheers of supporters after emerging from the Manila Cathedral where they attended mass before filing their certificates of candidacy (CoC) Monday. (Photo by KJ ROSALES)


Aside from fighting poverty, the Nacionalista Party headed by its standard-bearer Senator Manny Villar is determined to stamp out graft and corruption and restore peace and order that has been blamed why the country is lagging behind our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

Of the nine senatorial bets of NP who were proclaimed Sunday night, it seems Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was the overwhelming favorite of the Tondo crowd as she slammed the corrupt in government and the elite people whom she claimed conspired and rendered us one of the poorest nations now.

Tondo residents were in festive mood during Sunday's NP proclamation rally as Villar and his runningmate

Senator Loren Legarda, along with their nine senatorial slate were also endorsed by showbiz heavyweights, including noontime program Wowowee TV host Willie Revillame, and comedy King Dolphy, and billiards king Efren “Bata” Reyes, as well as Valerie Concepcion.

Senator Santiago, NP guest candidate for senator, surprisingly appeared during the NP proclamation rally Sunday night in Tondo, Manila and unleashed again her fiery words against the oligarchs and vowed that once reelected, she will not stop in fighting the unabated corruption which she blamed why millions of our countrymen are suffering from what she described as unexplained poverty. According to her, the Philippines is the richest nation in Southeast Asia but because of corruption and lack of concern by the elite people, we became the sick man of Asia.

Santiago said the rich and famous in our country are shameless and should be held accountable.


Source: http://mb.com.ph/node/231905/villar-vow

A very crowded race for the next President

By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO and KRIS BAYOS
November 30, 2009, 6:22pm


Three known presidential aspirants filed their certificates of candidacy (CoC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday: Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar of the Nacionalista Party, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Bangon Pilipinas Party, and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.

At least three more are expected to file this Tuesday: former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, businessman and former Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez and Senator Ma. Consuelo Ana “Jamby” Madrigal.

Jimenez on Monday said he is ready to spend his enormous assets to run a “decent” campaign as an independent presidential candidate whose platform of government is geared towards fiscal stability of government, eradication of corruption, and protection of human rights.

Announcing his presidential bid only a day before the deadline for the filing of CoC, the former Manila congressman said he was thinking about it since 2004 while serving his sentence at a federal prison in the United States.

“Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ was the turning point and catalyst of my decision to run. During that calamity, the government proved to be so helpless in attending to the needs of the typhoon victims, which should not be the case if only we are financially stable and free from corruption,” Jimenez told the media in a press conference he organized in his residence in Taguig City.

With his entry to the presidential derby, Jimenez challenged his opponents to debate with him their plans to concretize “change” in a country of worsening budget deficit, increasing debts, and declining employment rate.

Madrigal will file her CoC for president at around 7:30 a.m. this Tuesday. She will also run as an independent.

Madrigal is set to finish her Senate term by July 30, 2010, but favored a presidential candidacy with an advocacy for “good governance and pro-Filipino economy.”

Villar was the first among the aspirants to file his CoC yesterday morning. He arrived with his running mate Sen. Loren Legarda and seven of their senatorial bets: Sen. Pia Cayetano, PLM President Adel Tamano, OFW advocate Susan “Toots” Ople, former Congressman Ramon Mitra III, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel’s daughter Gwendolyn, Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

According to Legarda, Gabriela Rep. Liza Masa is also included in their lineup aside from Sen. Miriam Santiago who is a guest candidate.

Second to arrive was the yellow clad Villanueva of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Movement who boasts of his dream team.

“The entire spectrum of Philippine society is properly represented in this dream team of Bangon Pilipinas. Dumating na ang oras na itinakda. We believe dumating na ang oras na itinakda ng diyos at ng kasaysayan na ang ating minamahal na inang bayan ay tunay na makabangon at makaranas ng tunay na pagbabago. Isang pamahlaan na hindi pa nararanasan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Pamahalaan na para sa bayan hindi para sa iilan. Kaya ito po ang aming hinahandog sa inyo. Simula na ito ng bagong Pilipinas,” said Villanueva.

Included in their dream team are GMA-7 reporter Alexander Tinsay, broadcaster Katherine Inocencio, El Shaddai preacher Atty. Ramoncito Ocampo, teacher Israel Virgines, and Zafrullah Alonto representing Mindanao.

Villanueva’s running mate is Atty. Perfecto “Jun” Yasay, former SEC chairman.

Minutes after Villanueva’s party left the Project Management Office (PMO), Estrada’s camp entered wearing orange shirts.

Erap was accompanied by his wife former Senator Loi, daughter Jackie Ejercito Lopez, and son Jude Estrada.

His son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada was also present and filed his CoC for senator.

Also included in the PMP line up are Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, former Rep. Apolinario “Jun” Lozada, National Broadband Network (NBN) witness Joey De Venecia, Rep. Ompong Plaza, and Atty. JV Bautista.


Source: http://mb.com.ph/articles/231906/a-very-crowded-race-president

Clash of colors: Estrada says he used it first


By Philip Tubeza, Michael Lim Ubac, Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:25:00 12/01/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Manny Villar, Joseph Estrada


MANILA, Philippines—So, who turned “orange” first?

Sen. Manuel Villar Monday got some lighthearted ribbing from former President Joseph Estrada for using orange as his campaign color.

Speaking to reporters at Liwasang Bonifacio, Estrada said he was first to use orange as a campaign color. He also beat Villar by a month in launching his candidacy in the working class district of Tondo, Manila.

“I’ve been using orange as my [campaign] color since 1986. When I ran for senator
, it was orange. For vice president, orange. When I ran for president in 2008, orange was still my color. So, who is imitating whom?” Estrada said.

He quickly added that he bore no grudge against Villar for adopting his campaign color, saying: “Everybody is free [to do as he wants].”

“It’s good that we’re being imitated. Maybe they’re impressed with us,” Estrada added.

On the eve of the deadline of filing certificates of candidacy (CoC) on Monday, both Villar and Estrada came to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila, dressed in orange shirts.

Villar arrived first with his band of supporters, chanting “Villar! Villar!”

A drum and bugle band played as he, running mate Sen. Loren Legarda and the Nacionalista Party (NP) senatorial slate trooped to the Comelec to file their papers.

Then yellow

An hour later, Jesus Is Lord Church evangelist Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva and his supporters from Bangon Pilipinas Party came, turning the area’s color from orange to yellow.

Villanueva was with his running mate Perfecto Yasay, former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair, and a handful of senatorial candidates.

With their sheer number, yellow-clad Bangon members were the liveliest crowd, drowning out the NP’s chants and cheers. A seasoned politician, Villar came with the usual political banners, streamers and placards.

Then orange again

A quarter before 11 a.m., Estrada’s convoy and his supporters who marched from Liwasang Bonifacio arrived, again transforming the Comelec grounds’ color into a vibrant orange.

With the limited space, supporters of Villar, Estrada and Villanueva had to civilly share the same area while waiting for their candidates to emerge from the Comelec office at Palacio del Gobernador.

Adding color to the festive scene, four teenage sons of detained Col. Ariel Querubin defiantly displayed their oversized orange shirts emblazoned with the slogan, “Free my Dad.”

Dolphy supports Villar

Estrada, who was convicted with plunder but pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is trailing Villar in the surveys. On the other hand, Villar is a far second to survey front-runner Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Estrada was joined at the Liwasang Bonifacio by his running mate, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and his senatorial slate.

The former President also said he did not feel bad that comedy king Dolphy was reportedly endorsing Villar for the presidency.

“All of us artists are free to choose whom to support in the elections,” Estrada said.

Hometown boys

Dolphy was at the NP proclamation rally on Sunday night to endorse the presidential bid of Villar.

The comedy king said he was supporting Villar because like him, he was from Tondo and enjoined residents there to back the senator.

Villar launched his presidential bid at Macario Sacay Plaza in Moriones, Tondo, which is just in front of his family’s old dilapidated house.

“I have been friends with Dolphy for a long time now and I am a big fan,” Villar told reporters in Filipino after his proclamation rally.

Willie, Bata

Villar also said he was thankful to popular TV game show host Willie Revillame, who was also at the proclamation rally and had told the crowd he was responsible for inviting Dolphy to join Villar’s camp.

Before the rally ended, Revillame told Villar he was willing to serve as a “bridge” to the poor so he could relay to him their needs.

Villar also thanked billiards king Efren “Bata” Reyes who spoke at the NP proclamation rally for supporting his presidential bid.

With the deadline to file the CoC set for Tuesday, Villar said his party would be able to complete its 12-member senatorial slate. The NP has three more slots to fill in the slate.

“We will be able to complete it but we still have to fix some things,” Villar said.

Before the proclamation rally, NP officials said they were opening two slots for Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza, who had earlier declined to join the NP in protest of the inclusion of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the senatorial slate.

Ninoy’s cousin

There was talk that former Sen. Vicente Sotto III would be the 12th candidate but on Monday Sotto said he would run as senatorial candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and would not support any presidential candidate.

Sotto said he was asked to be a guest candidate of Villar’s NP. But he said he was in a quandary because his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, was related to Liberal Party standard-bearer Aquino.

“Not many know this but Helen, my wife, is related to the Aquinos,” he said.

Sotto said Gamboa’s father is a cousin of Noynoy’s father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.



Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091201-239482/Clash-of-colors-Estrada-says-he-used-it-first

Bumpy start for Estrada’s comeback trail


By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:48:00 11/30/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010


MANILA, Philippines -- Former President Joseph Estrada’s candidacy got a “bumpy” start to his comeback bid on Malacañang on Monday.

Driving a jeep to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila to file his candidacy, the ousted President urged voters to reject politicians spending “billions” just so they could capture Malacanang.

But before Estrada could formally file his papers, he accidentally bumped his forehead on the jeep he was driving.

Estrada had to put a bottle of cold water on the lump to keep it from growing but the bump above his right eye was visible and the former President continued touching it as he faced the cameras.

“Be careful especially of those who buy your votes. Our country will really suffer if you sell your votes,” the former President told about 1,000 supporters at the Liwasang Bonifacio.

“Because once you sell your votes to those who spend big during the campaign, they will try to get this back 10, 20, or 100 times from our country’s treasury,” he added.

Estrada said the public should teach these big spenders “a lesson” and trash them in the polls

“To teach these politicians who spend billions--buying leaders and votes----a lesson, accept the money and put it in your pocket but write down the Filipino masses in the ballot,” Estrada said.

When asked if he was referring to Sen. Manuel Villar, who had reportedly spent millions on TV ads, the former President said he was referring to all candidates.

Estrada and his supporters attended Mass at the Liwasang Bonifacio before proceeding to the Comelec main office as the country marked the birth of national hero Andres Bonifacio.

Likening himself to Bonifacio, Estrada said he would also launch a revolution against the ruling oligarchy, whom he blames for his ouster in 2001.

“Bonifacio was also born in Tondo. He was not able to finish his studies. I also was not able to finish my studies and I’m also for the masses,” Estrada said.

Estrada was joined at the Liwasang by his running mate, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco, comedian Bayani Agbayani, and actor Tirso Cruz III.

Besides Enrile, the other Estrada senatorial candidates present were Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza and former Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Apolinario “Jun” Lozada.

Estrada said he was going to run again for the presidency in part because he wanted to fulfill a promise he made to his late mother before she died earlier this year.

“Joseph, ano ba ang nangyayari sa iyo (what’s happening to you)? You only had one more year left in your engineering studies but you did not finish it,” Estrada recalled his mother telling him.

“You also did not finish your presidency…your sentence, you also did not finish…I’m dying but you haven’t finished anything yet,’” he said.

“So I said `Mama, don’t worry. I will go back and finish my presidency,” he added.

After a short program, Estrada’s supporters began marching towards Comelec, with a brass band leading the way, while Estrada took the driver seat of the jeep which had the sign “Jeep ni Erap.”


Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20091130-239393/Bumpy-start-for-Estradas-comeback-trail

Constitution allows Arroyo bid for Congress -- Monsod


By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:10:00 11/30/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010


MANILA, Philippines -- A noted constitutionalist and even one of the opposition’s top election lawyers on Monday said there was nothing illegal about President Macapagal-Arroyo’s running for the House of Representatives in her home district in Pampanga.

Lawyer Christian Monsod, former chair of the Commission on Elections and one of the drafters of the 1987 Constitution, told the Inquirer Ms Arroyo could run for any position in government
except for re-election as President.

“That’s allowed,” Monsod said. And she doesn’t need to resign either, according to Monsod.

“There’s no rule that says she should resign. If that is the rule, you will not have anybody running the government if all officials are supposed to resign,” he added.

Election lawyer Sixto Brillantes, the legal counsel of the late opposition standard bearer Fernando Poe, Jr., in the election protest against Ms Arroyo in 2004, agreed with Monsod’s statement about the absence of any law barring her from running for Congress.

He, however, questioned the propriety of Ms Arroyo’s decision to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

“It’s just a shame,” Brillantes said in Filipino. “They are undermining the position of President,” he added.

Brillantes said there was no way a Pampanga representative would be co-equal with the President.

“They are saying the legislative branch is co-equal with the executive. How can one representative among more than 200 House members be co-equal with the Chief Executive?” Brillantes said.

“It is a move against the norms of morality,” he added.

Lawyer Midas Marquez, Supreme Court spokesperson and deputy court administrator, also indicated that there’s nothing wrong with the incumbent President running for another office and continuing to serve until the end of her term as President.

“According to the resolution of the Comelec, which incidentally is being questioned, only appointive officials are considered resigned upon the filing of respective (certificates of candidacies),” Marquez said in a text message.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide on Tuesday on whether appointed officials may be deemed resigned upon the filing of the COC’s.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, on behalf of two Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials, questioned before the Comelec a resolution that considered appointed government officials resigned upon the filing of their certificates of candidacies.


Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20091130-239386/Constitution-allows-Arroyo-bid-for-Congress----Monsod

Estrada hits Villar for imitating campaign color


By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:14:00 11/30/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010


MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manuel Villar got some lighthearted ribbing from former President Joseph Estrada for using “orange” as his campaign color.

Speaking to reporters in Liwasang Bonifacio, Estrada said that he was the one who first used orange as a campaign color and that he also beat Villar by a month in launching his candidacy in the working class district of Tondo, Manila.

“I’ve been using orange as my (campaign) color since 1986. When I ran for senator, it was orange. For Vice President, orange. When I ran for president in 2008, orange was still my color. So, who is imitating who?” Estrada said.

But he quickly added that he bore no grudge against Villar for adopting his campaign color, saying: “No, everybody is free.”

“It’s good that we’re being imitated. Maybe they’re impressed with us,” he added.

Estrada, who was convicted with plunder but pardoned by President Macapagal-Arroyo, is trailing Villar in the surveys. On the other hand, Villar is a far second to survey front-runner Sen. Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III.

Estrada said that he did not feel bad about reports that comedy king Dolphy was reportedly endorsing Villar for the presidency.

“All of us artists are free to choose whom to go with in the elections,” Estrada said.

Asked if he was endorsing Environment Secretary Lito Atienza for mayor of Manila, Estrada said he was still not sure but added that his party, the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (Force of the Filipino Masses), might coalesce with Atienza’s group.

Asked about Quezon City politics, Estrada said he was endorsing Councilor and former showbiz personality Aiko Melendes for vice mayor.

He said he was unaware of reports that PMP was endorsing former Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor or Rep. Annie Susano for Quezon City mayor.

In Susano’s case, Estrada said: “I think something happened and so she did not join us.”

Estrada said his senatorial slate include Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (guest candidate), Senator Bong Revilla (guest candidate), Agusan del Sur Rep. Ompong Plaza, Negros Occidental Rep. Apolinario "Jun" Lozada, Sanlakas Rep. JV Bautista and businessman Jose “Joey” de Venecia III.


Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20091130-239455/Estrada-hits-Villar-for-imitating-campaign-color

Arroyo in Congress will make next president ‘transitionary’


By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:27:00 11/30/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010


MANILA, Philippines -- President Arroyo’s bid for a seat in the Lower House is meant to render her successor, presumably Senator Benigno “`Noynoy’’ Aquino III, who has a massive lead in the surveys over his rivals, as merely “transitionary” by personally leading Charter change efforts to shift to a parliamentary form of government soon after the elections.

“Her ultimate goal is to become House Speaker and ram through her burning desire to change the Constitution. Since she cannot hope to beat Noynoy, her next best option is to render his victory useless and lead the change in form of government,’’ said Sen. Mar Roxas, Aquino’s running mate in the Liberal Party ticket.

Roxas claimed Ms Arroyo’s run for a congressional seat was part of a scheme to perpetuate herself in power through Charter change which, Roxas said, she planned to follow through under a constitutional convention (Con-con) in the next administration.

Running for Congress would also allow her to use her congressional seat to defend herself from a “landslide of lawsuits’’ that would be filed against her after her term as president ends, Roxas said.

Before Congress went on recess two weeks ago, representatives placed on the floor for debates a bill proposing the election of Con-con delegates in October next year.

But Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD expressed doubts whether Congress would approve the Con-con bill before its final session in February with the start of the campaign season.

``I believe that it is still to early for the President to retire from politics and that she wanted to impart her knowledge derived from nine years in Malacañang to us here in Congress,’’ Barzaga said.

Sen. Francis Escudero said that while it was well within Ms Arroyo’s right to run for a lower post, ``it surely leaves a bad taste in the mouth.''

``What else does she need to prove and accomplish?'' Escudero asked.


Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20091130-239396/Arroyo-in-Congress-will-make-next-president-transitionary

After May 10, 2010 address her ‘Cong Glo’


BY JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR


PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday confirmed speculations that she will run for Congress to represent the second district of Pampanga in 2010, saying she is "not ready to step down completely from public service."

"After much soul searching, I have decided to file my candidacy for Congress in order to serve the hardworking people of my home province," she told reporters.

Last Friday, more than 200 supporters from the second district of Pampanga were allowed inside the Malacañang complex to present a manifesto to the President asking her to run for congresswoman.

Last Saturday, local officials of Pampanga also trooped to Malacañang, where Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo announced he would gladly give way to his mother. A report said he would be joining a party list to keep his House seat.

Speculations on Ms. Arroyo running for Congress arose when she made more than 40 visits to Pampanga, particularly in the second district, during the last few months.

The President said that in Congress, she intends to continue to champion the plight of the poor, fight for a stronger economy, and ensure that every family in her district would have access to education, health and jobs.

She denied she is running for Congress to gain immunity from suit as "the only congressional immunity is from libel suit for utterances made during congressional session."

She also dismissed concerns and allegations that she wants to join Congress to push for Charter change and eventually become prime minister.

"That situation is hypothetical, I won’t even bother to speculate about it," she said.

The President said she would continue to focus on governance until her term expires June 30, 2010.

Romulo Macalintal, election lawyer and presidential spokesman for political matters, said a representative would file Arroyo’s COC in San Fernando before the deadline ends today. He said this representative, who has yet to be named, would be accompanied by Pampanga town mayors.

At present, four Arroyos are occupying congressional seats namely presidential sons Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo and Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Ignacio "Dato" Arroyo, brother-in-law Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo, and sister-in-law Rep. Maria Lourdes Arroyo (PL, Ang Kasangga).

Former President Joseph Estrada’s spokesperson, Margaux Salcedo, said Arroyo’s congressional candidacy is a brazen attempt to stay in power forever. "This should be considered as a warning that the scheming by this regime will not end with this president’s term in 2010."

Sen. Mar Roxas, running mate of Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, said he believes Arroyo’s decision to seek a seat in Congress is part of a larger political plan.

He said Arroyo might push for changing the Constitution and is hoping to regain power by becoming prime minister.

Rep. Teddy Casiño (PL, Bayan Muna) urged President Arroyo to seek "professional help."

"I have never seen a leader so obsessed with power who, after nine years of occupying the highest office of the land, would still aspire for a lower position. She is drunk with power and can’t get enough. I think she needs professional help," Casiño said.

Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said Arroyo’s decision came as no surprise because he did not expect that simple "delicadeza" would stop the President from seeking another elective position.

"The President’s legal eagles and political pundits will simply repeat their script to defend her decision to run – that there is no legal impediment to her candidacy. And it would be foolish for people to expect delicadeza to prevail. So if she wants to run, let her run," Biazon said.
– With Gerard Naval and Peter J.G. Tabingo


Source: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12012009/news2.html

Brother Eddie files COC for president; Yasay is running mate


By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star)
Updated December 01, 2009 12:00 AM


Bangon Pilipinas standard-bearer Eddie Villanueva (right) and his running mate Perfecto Yasay, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, hold copies of their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections office in Manila yesterday. EDD GUMBAN


MANILA, Philippines - Jesus is Lord (JIL) leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, standard-bearer of the Bangon Pilipinas party, took a shot at the presidency once more when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with his running mate, former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Perfecto Yasay.

Bangon’s senatorial slate is composed of Dr. Israel Nicolas, an educator; Zafrullah Alonto who is a descendant of former senators Alauya and Domocao Alonto; broadcasters Ma. Katherine Luningning “Kata” Inocencio of the 700 Club, Alex Tinsay of GMA-7 and lawyer Ramoncito Ocampo.

“I’m now presenting to you the ‘Dream Team’ of Bangon Pilipinas Party. This is the ‘Magnificent Seven.’ Each of us represents the various sectors of our society,” Villanueva told reporters.

He boasted that none of Bangon’s candidates has an “iota or trace of corruption in the past.”

“(We are) not beholden to any political power, not beholden to any business or economic power. (We are only) beholden to God and the Filipino people,” he said.

Villanueva first sought the presidency in 2004 but lost to President Arroyo. This time around, he claimed that Bangon Pilipinas would have enough volunteers in the grassroots to guard their votes.

“In 2004, I decided to run three months before the election. But now, we have been preparing for two years. Silently, the sleeping giant, Bangon Pilipinas, has already awakened,” he added.

He also clarified that it was Bangon Pilipinas that was accredited by the Comelec to make use of yellow gold as the party’s official color. They have been using yellow gold since 2004 because it symbolizes resurrection and sunrise.

The true colors of the Liberal Party (LP), he said, are red, white and blue and only when Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III came in as its standard-bearer did it start adopting the color yellow because of its significance to Aquino’s mother, former President Corazon Aquino.

When asked about his poor showing in surveys, the tele-evangelist said he believed that the survey was not accurate since it only covered five candidates.

If he becomes president, Villanueva said he would introduce a formula that would minimize corruption in government, particularly at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

He also promised to construct one million modest homes and one million classrooms every year and build 100,000 kilometers of roads every year.

Their party would promote seven “Es” namely empowerment, emancipation, educating the people in a quality and progressive way, energizing the economy, elevating the standards of living of all Filipinos, eradicating bad governance and establishing peace and order all over the land.

Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) former leader Nur Misuari is also reportedly running as Sulu governor under the BPP.

‘El Shaddai’s Velarde likely to endorse Bro. Eddie’

Bangon Pilipinas senatorial bet Ocampo, who is also an elder disciple of El Shaddai, said there is a possibility that Bro. Mike Velarde of El Shaddai will consider endorsing Villanueva’s presidential bid.

Ocampo, a family and immigration lawyer based in the United States helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), has been a member of El Shaddai since 1993. He is now an elder disciple-preacher with El Shaddai DWXI-Prayer Partners Foundation Inc. (PPFI) in the United States.

He clarified that while he is an elder disciple of El Shaddai, he could not speak for Velarde.

But Ocampo explained that Velarde does not make an outright endorsement of a presidential candidate, preferring to give subtle hints as to who his choice is.

“I’m here. That’s a subtle sign,” Ocampo said.

He added that before he agreed to run for senator under Bangon Pilipinas, he sought Velarde’s blessings.

Since Velarde has decided not to pursue presidential plans, Ocampo believed that “if there is anybody next to Bro. Mike, it’s Bro. Eddie. No one is more spiritual
(than) Bro. Eddie.” – With Evelyn Macairan


Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=528438&publicationSubCategoryId=63

Supreme Court set to rule on resignation of government officials before filing COCs

(The Philippine Star)
Updated December 01, 2009 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines - It will be known today whether appointive officials running in next year’s elections must resign before filing their certificates of candidacy.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on the matter today, according to SC spokesman Midas Marquez.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal has asked the SC to stop the implementation of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution stating that appointive officials are considered resigned upon filing of their COCs.

Macalintal said he has advised his clients, Undersecretary Eleazar Quinto and Director Gerino Tolentino of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and other appointive officials to file their COCs after 5 p.m. when the SC has already ruled on the matter.

“With the recent SC decision in the Penera case, which ruled that persons filing COCs are not yet considered candidates (under poll automation system), with more reason that the SC may consider my petition that government officials filing COCs should be ipso facto resigned only at the start of campaign period and not upon filing of COCs,” he said.

Macalintal said should the SC rule in his favor, appointive officials who have already resigned no longer need to be reappointed.

“There is no need for reappointment because they don’t even have to submit a written letter of resignation as they are ipso facto resigned upon filing of COCs,” he said. “So if the SC decides favorably, it will retroact to them in that it is as if there’s no such law or resolution of Comelec, so no ipso facto resignation.”

Last Oct. 19, Macalintal told the SC the advance filing of COCs was only provided under the Poll Automation Law for the purpose of printing the names of the candidates in the ballots.

“It is respectfully submitted that the better rule is to consider such person, including the petitioners herein who will file their COCs on or before Nov. 30, 2009 (which was moved to Dec. 1), to be ‘ipso facto resigned’ only upon the start of the campaign period for which they file their respective certificates of candidacy,” read Macalintal’s petition.

Macalintal said the Poll Automation Law’s provision on mandatory resignation of appointive officials upon filing of COCs was contradictory as it also provides that any person who files his COC shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.

“The law is very clear in that the persons filing in advance their COCs are not yet considered as ‘candidate’ as of Nov. 30 but will only be considered as such upon the start of the campaign period for which they filed their COCs,” he said.

“These two conflicting provisions of the same law should have been reconciled or harmonized by the respondent Comelec to suit the apparent content of legislators that the ‘ipso facto resignation’ of the said government official who files his COC should only take effect upon start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidate,” he said.

Macalintal said the questioned provision showed apparent discrimination and violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution on grounds that elective officials are not considered resigned if they file their COCs on Nov. 30 and could hold on to their positions after the elections.

“Furthermore, the resolution was based merely on the Omnibus Election Code which applies to a manual election without considering the fact that the 2010 elections shall be automated and covered by the Automated Election Law,” he said.

Petitioners asked the SC to void the assailed provision in the Comelec resolution passed last Oct. 6.

In response, the Office of the Solicitor General said petitioners raised a valid controversy that warrants issuance of a temporary restraining order.

“Verily, there is now a compelling need for the Honorable Court to step in and resolve the controversy for the benefit not only of the petitioners and those similarly situated, but for the Comelec as well,” read the OSG’s comment.

“It is true that the first and fundamental duty of courts is to apply the law. However, when application becomes impossible or inadequate, as in this case, the Honorable Court should not deny the parties the exercise of its powers of construction and interpretation.

“In this connection, the implementation of Section 4 (a) of Comelec Resolution 8678 which only mirrors Section 13 of RA 9369 (Poll Automation Law) should accordingly be restrained”.

State lawyers agreed with Macalintal’s argument that the Poll Automation Law contains conflicting provisions.

“All told, it is respectfully submitted that the provision in Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, stating that appointive officials, active members of the Armed Forces and officers and employees of GOCCs (government-owned and controlled corporations) are considered ipso facto (it follows) resigned and required to vacate their positions on the same day they filed their COCs is contrary to the spirit behind the provision of the same law stating that any person who filed his COC shall be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period.” – Edu Punay


Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=528437&publicationSubCategoryId=63

Senators, bishops slam GMA bid


By Aurea Calica and Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star)
Updated December 01, 2009 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines - Senators and prominent Roman Catholic
bishops said President Arroyo’s decision to run for congresswoman in Pampanga has shown her desperation for political survival.

The senators and the clergy said the move showed Mrs. Arroyo’s lack of sense of propriety and her insatiable lust for power.

“She’s setting a bad precedent – hanging on to presidential post and use of presidential power and funds to crush any congressional opponent,” Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said.

“She’s making political playing field uneven versus all democratic demands for fairness,” Pimentel said.

Sen. Francis Escudero said that while it was Mrs. Arroyo’s right to seek a lower public officee, “it surely leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

“What else does she need to prove and accomplish? Perhaps that's her exit plan to ensure protection,” Escudero said.

Mrs. Arroyo’s critics believe a congressional seat would pave the way for her bagging the speakership and eventually give her the clout to initiate a shift to a parliamentary form of government with herself as prime minister.

Sen. Manuel Villar, standard bearer of the Nacionalista Party, said it would be up to the people to judge Mrs. Arroyo based on how she has performed in her nine years in office.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said he was not surprised that Mrs. Arroyo would be ready to sacrifice propriety for political survival.

“I recall Senator Joker Arroyo saying that her running for Congress would be demeaning but (for President Arroyo) nothing is demeaning when it comes to political survival,” Pangilinan said.

“Running for public office as a means to protect one’s personal interests has been done countless of times in the past by many other politicians,” he said.

“Since the Hello Garci controversy, President Arroyo’s sole focus has been political survival that has pushed her to seek a congressional seat,” he said.

“For President Arroyo, it is better to be in office than out of it because the office and the powers that come with it will be used as vehicle to protect herself,” he added.

“This has little to do with public service and has more to do with protecting one’s back from the threat of political persecution. She is desperately looking for a soft landing after 2010,” he said.

“She will win, yes and she will try her best to use the office to protect herself. I doubt very much though if she will succeed in finding a way out, in achieving the soft landing she desires,” he said.

“In the final analysis, it is said that history can be a cruel judge and she cannot escape the judgment of history, none of us can,” Pangilinan said.

Sen. Manuel Roxas II, for his part, rebuffed Mrs. Arroyo’s claim that her desire to serve the public was her motivation for seeking a lower post after the end of her term.

“It’s intriguing that after nine years in office she claims to have not done enough. Maybe she has motives for running again but serving the people definitely is not one of them,” Roxas said in Filipino. Roxas, Liberal Party candidate for vice president, was in Pampanga yesterday with Sen. Benigno Aquino III, the party’s standard bearer.

Nevertheless, Roxas said he is confident voters in Pampanga are also seeking genuine reforms as shown by the swearing in today of 63 local officials and prospective candidates, into the LP.

“Now we see that Gloria’s supposed bailiwick is also a bailiwick of hope. Here and in other parts of the country, we can hear the resounding call of all Filipinos for real change),” Roxas said.

“Contrary to the claim of certain camps, Pampanga is owned by nobody but by Pampangueños who hunger and thirst for change. The Philippines is owned by nobody but Filipinos who want the status quo of traditional and transactional politics be overturned by transformational leadership,” he said.

“It was unthinkable for us to see a sitting President to run as a congressman,” NP spokesman Gilbert Remulla said.

“There will be questions to its legality for her to do without vacating her post. It is, however, unquestionable in its impropriety because it smacks of desperation to cling to power at all costs,” Remulla said.

“Actually, on a personal note and as former member of Congress, all I can say iis, this is going to be very dangerous for (the next) sitting president to become a member of Congress. With the so many resources that she got, she can ally with a big bloc of sitting congressmen and be a hindrance to a House Speaker in working for the impeachment of a sitting president,” said Remulla.

Meanwhile, Sen. Pia Cayetano said Mrs. Arroyo’s running for congresswoman would only fuel the public’s distrust of her.

“If she will insist on it, her distrust level among our people will further rise because she will continue to be perceived as insensitive, with an insatiable greed for power,” she said.

“Her stepping down will demonstrate a statesmanship never seen from her and a good precedent for our future leaders,” said Cayetano, who is running for senator under the NP slate.

‘Temptation of power’

Several prelates including Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Jaro Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo voiced their concern over Mrs. Arroyo’s decision.

“I wholeheartedly suggest she gives others a chance to serve and not give in to temptation of power,” Lagdameo said in CBCPNews, the official news service provider of the CBCP.

“She would have shown some statesmanship if she does not run or political delicadeza,” Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance said.

Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg said he believes “she should retire.”

“It’s not proper for a former president to seek a lower position,” Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said. “She is already in the category as an elder adviser or statesman of our nation,” he added.

A staunch Arroyo critic Lingayen-Dagupan Pangasinan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the president “manifests addiction to power, exhibits lack of propriety and remains fixated to have a Cha-Cha (Charter change)– once elected – as soon as possible, to target
the Office of Prime Minister.”

Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Lucilo Quiambao also said it would be better for President Arroyo not to run.

“The reason is political dynasty and might be interpreted as cover up for something,” he said. He said the move was “self-demotion.” With Evelyn Macairan


Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=528432&publicationSubCategoryId=63

GMA wants House seat


By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star)
Updated December 01, 2009 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines - Ending speculation about her political plans, President Arroyo declared yesterday that she is running for Congress representing the second district of Pampanga next year.

Speaking over government-run Radyo ng Bayan, Mrs. Arroyo said she realized after “much contemplation” that “I am not ready to step down completely from public service.”

“As you know, the people of my home district in Pampanga want me to remain in public life,” she said in a mix of Filipino and English. “So after much soul-searching, I have decided to respond affirmatively to their call.”

Mrs. Arroyo said she hopes to be a champion for the poor in Congress and work to uplift the economy.

“To that end, I will file
my candidacy for Congress in order to serve the hardworking people of my home province,” she said.

She vowed to remain focused on her work as President until her final day in office.

Romulo Macalintal, Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer, and Press Secretary Cerge Remonde were present during the interview.

Macalintal told reporters “some local mayors” authorized by Mrs. Arroyo will file her certificate of candidacy (COC) today.

Mrs. Arroyo is ready for any lawsuit after she files her COC, he added.

Macalintal said it was about a month ago that Mrs. Arroyo started contemplating about running for Congress.

“About a month ago, that was talked about, she consulted her family, some supporters in Pampanga,” he said.

“She thought she was still very young and can still serve. That’s the judgment call of the President.”

He was not aware of any dissent from Mrs. Arroyo’s family on her decision, Macalintal said.

Mrs. Arroyo said she studied several options before deciding on continuing to be in politics.

“While I’m very much looking forward to stepping down at the end of my term, I have been mulling different ways to stay involved,” she said.

“I looked at going back to teaching. I have also examined working with non-profit organizations on issues ranging from the environment to women’s issues.

“I thought of many opportunities. One day I hope to pursue them… work for causes near and dear to me, like the fight against climate change, improvement of education and the cause of women.”

Mrs. Arroyo dismissed allegations that she wants to be a member of the House of Representatives to obtain immunity from the torrent of lawsuits to be filed by her political enemies after she steps down from the presidency.

“The only congressional immunity is from libel suits, from utterances made in a congressional session—that’s not what I’m after,” she said.

“This move reflects my ongoing commitment to public service. I have given careful consideration to a number of options that I could pursue upon leaving office.

“But I have come to the conclusion that I can best serve the nation from a seat in Congress should I be elected.”

Mrs. Arroyo said she is determined to champion the poor, fight for a stronger economy, and ensure that health, education and jobs are within reach of all Kapampangans.

Once elected to Congress, she would get a chance to continue her advocacies “closer to the people,” she added.

Mrs. Arroyo said she will remain “firmly in control of our national government until the last day I am in office,” while campaigning for a seat in the House of Representatives.

“As President, my first commitment is to the nation we all love,” she said.

“My bid for Congress will be only spirited but secondary to my duty as President. I will devote very little time for my campaign for Congress.

“We have come too far and too much is at stake for me to waver in these last few months on my commitment to the people of the nation. I will keep a steady hand on the tiller of the ship of state.”

Mrs. Arroyo said she would continue to pour resources to the Comelec to ensure free, fair and open elections next year.

“And then I will work cooperatively with the incoming administration so they can hit the ground running,” she said.

Comelec: GMA qualified to run

Mrs. Arroyo is qualified to seek any elective position except the presidency, the Comelec said yesterday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said Mrs. Arroyo does not even have to resign the presidency after she files her COC.

“There’s no legal impediment to the President seeking elective office other than the presidency once again.

“The law is very clear – elective officials are allowed to return to the posts they occupied after the conclusion of the electoral process if they lost.

“So they are not deemed to have lost their positions simply by virtue of filing their COC.”

However, Jimenez said the Comelec will accept petitions questioning the legality of Mrs. Arroyo’s running for Congress.

“It’s a matter of law,” he said.

“I mean if anyone can provide a different interpretation of the law, then I guess that’s what filing a suit is for.”

Erap: GMA must step down

Former President Joseph Estrada said yesterday Mrs. Arroyo must step down after she files her COC for Congress today.

Speaking over radio, Estrada, United Opposition standard-bearer, said Mrs. Arroyo could use government resources in her campaign to seek a seat in the House of Representatives.

“She should step down because she will use government resources like she did in 2004,” he said.

Mrs. Arroyo is likely to repeat the alleged massive cheating in the 2004 presidential elections in which action star Fernando Poe Jr. lost, he added.

Estrada said Mrs. Arroyo will be demeaning the presidency if she runs for a lower post.

“In my opinion, it is not right for any president who had just finished her term to run for any position, especially one lower than the presidency,” he said.

However, it is the right of any president who had completed a six-year term to run for any position, Estrada said.

As to Mrs. Arroyo’s motive in seeking a congressional seat, he refused to comment.

Estrada said if he becomes president again, he will leave it to the courts to decide whether to charge Mrs. Arroyo after her term ends next year.

“In my opinion, the President must not intervene in that,” he said. “We have the courts. We must leave it to the people.”

Margaux Salcedo, Estrada’s spokesperson, said Mrs. Arroyo’s congressional bid is a brazen attempt to stay in power.

“If this congressional candidacy was out of a desire to serve the people, it would be admirable,” she said.

“But it is a brazen attempt to stay in power forever. This should be considered as a warning that the scheming by this regime will not end with this president’s term in 2010.”

‘Why not the Senate?’

Former ambassador Ernesto Maceda, UNO spokesman, said yesterday Mrs. Arroyo should seek a Senate seat if she is sincere in continuously serving the Filipino people.

“To me, it is a simple lead for political power,” he said.

“Gloria is a very unusual politician. She will be the first president who had finished her term to run for Congress, a position lower than the presidency.”

Maceda said Mrs. Arroyo is wrong in thinking that she could become speaker after she wins as representative of Pampanga in Congress.

“If President Estrada wins, there is Congressmen (Arnulfo) Fuentebella and Rufus Rodirguez who can logically get the speakership,” he said.

“So, how can she be Speaker. She will never become Speaker.”

Maceda said Mrs. Arroyo can instead do other things like former President Fidel Ramos, such as writing and helping the people.

“The least attractive position is to become a congressman,” he said.

Binay said Mrs. Arroyo’s real agenda is to amend the Constitution and shift to a parliamentary form of government.

“The real agenda is to amend the Constitution, shift to a parliamentary form of government and snatch power from whoever is elected president in 2010 by becoming the prime minister and head of government,” he said.

“Mrs. Arroyo intends to nullify the result of the 2010 presidential election, and once again, she will subvert the will of the people in her self-serving pursuit of power.”

Binay said the choice of the few will replace the voice of over 45 million Filipinos after Mrs. Arroyo wins a seat in Congress.

“The next president will always be under threat of being unseated by a Congress led by Mrs. Arroyo,” he said.

‘So obsessed with power’

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said yesterday he has never seen a leader so obsessed with power as Mrs. Arroyo.

“After nine years of occupying the highest office of the land, she would still aspire for a lower position with her two sons and two in-laws,” he said.

“She is drunk with power and can’t get enough. I think she needs professional help.”

Mrs. Arroyo’s two sons, Mikey and Dato, are representatives of Pampanga and Camarines Sur in Congress.

So are her two in-laws – Iggy and Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, who are representing Negros Occidental and party-list Kasangga. —With Sheila Crisostomo, Jose Rodel Clapano, Delon Porcalla, Ding Cervantes


Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=528429&publicationSubCategoryId=63

Arroyo bid sparks outrage (Solons say she fears lawsuits)


By Inquirer Staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:22:00 12/01/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Charter change, Churches (organisations)


MANILA, Philippines—Within hours of her declaration that she was running for Congress in May, a firestorm of criticism swirled around President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, with one critic accusing her of being drunk with power and others saying her aim was to shield herself from “a landslide of lawsuits.”

The criticisms, as well as concerns, came both from her well-known political enemies and from some Church leaders.

The biggest worry of Ms Arroyo’s political foes appeared to be that she might use a seat in Congress as a launching pad to become prime minister, in case of a shift to a parliamentary government
.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, for so long a vocal critic of Ms Arroyo, said the framers of the Constitution did not think of imposing a ban on an outgoing president running for a lower office simply because it was unthinkable.

“There appears to be no reasonable cause for such a constitutional prohibition as really there is no person in his or her sound mind who will do such a funny and demeaning political circus,” Cruz said.

Cruz denounced Ms Arroyo’s “addiction to power.”

Temptation of power

Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), wasn’t caustic but his message was also clear—he said it was time for Ms Arroyo to retire.

“I wholeheartedly suggest she give others a chance to serve and not give in to the temptation of power,” Lagdameo said.

Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, running mate of Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, claimed Ms Arroyo’s bid for a seat in the House of Representatives was meant to reduce her successor into a mere transition president.

“Her ultimate goal is to become House Speaker and ram through her burning desire to change the Constitution,” Roxas said.

“Since she cannot hope to beat Noynoy, her next best option is to render his victory useless and lead the change in the form of government,” he added.

Protect her back

Running for Congress would also allow her to use her House seat to defend herself from a “landslide of lawsuits” that would be filed against her after she leaves the presidency, Roxas said.

Sen. Francis Escudero said that while it was well within Ms Arroyo’s right to run for a lower post, “it surely leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

“What else does she need to prove and accomplish?” Escudero asked.

It’s her desire to hang on to power and “protect her back” that pushed Ms Arroyo into deciding to run for the House of Representatives, other senators said.

“She still wants to be in power,” Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said in a phone interview.

Estrada, whose father Joseph Estrada was jailed for plunder and later pardoned by Ms Arroyo, said she probably wanted to have control of the House so she could be installed as prime minister if a change in the form of government ensued.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said on the phone that Ms Arroyo’s decision was designed to “protect her back from the innumerable charges that are bound to come her way.”

This “sets a horrible example for politicians to follow,” he said.

United Opposition president and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay voiced the same fears.

“The real agenda is to ... shift to a parliamentary form of government and snatch power from whoever is elected president in 2010 by becoming prime minister and head of government,” Binay said in a statement.

In a spot

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo said Ms Arroyo’s decision would put Pampanga voters in a spot. Ocampo is a resident of Pampanga’s second district and thus may end up being one of Ms Arroyo’s constituents if she wins.

“The main burden there would be on the voters,” Ocampo said. “It may be a bit hard to explain if they will vote for her and put her in Congress considering the nationally consistent rejection of her as shown by the surveys.”

Ocampo said he suspected Ms Arroyo would fund the candidacies of many administration allies so that she could control majority of the House if she won.

“She is drunk with power and can’t get enough. I think she needs professional help,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño.

The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said in a statement: “This is a dark day for the Philippines.”

Arroyo son’s sacrifice

Sen. Edgardo Angara, an ally of Ms Arroyo, would rather accept at “face value” her explanation that she was running for Congress so she could continue to serve the people.

Still, Angara said there were “many more meaningful ways” that Ms Arroyo could do other “than stepping down to a lower position.” He said she could do philanthropy or charity work or go into teaching.

Ms Arroyo’s elder son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo said that he “sacrificed” another term in Congress to yield to the clamor of his constituents who wanted his mother to take his place.

“I was the one who insisted she run for Congress as we believe she is more [able] to serve better given her political expertise and technological know how,” Mikey said in a text message to reporters.

Administration standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro Jr. distanced himself from the uproar.

“I am focused on my own candidacy... her plan doesn’t mean anything to me because it’s a decision made by the President,” Teodoro told the Inquirer.

More Church comments

Other Catholic Church leaders also spoke out against Ms Arroyo’s plan to run for a congressional seat. The prelates’ comments were posted in the news website of the CBCP.

Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance said that while there was no legal prohibition against her seeking a lower office, “she would have shown some statesmanship or political delicadeza if she does not run.”

Laoag Bishop Sergio Utleg said Ms Arroyo “should retire.” Basilan Martin Jumoad said: “It’s not proper for a former president to seek a lower position.”

Virac Bishop Manolo Delos Santos said that since there was no legal impediment for her to run as congressman, “let her constituents decide.”

Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Lucilo Quiambao said Ms Arroyo’s “self-demotion” as a congressional candidate “might be interpreted (as an act) to cover up for something.” Reports from Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Dona Pazzibugan, Christine O. Avendaño, Leila B. Salaverria, Allison W. Lopez, Jocelyn Uy and Nikko Dizon


Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091201-239479/Arroyo-bid-sparks-outrage

Arroyo refuses to quit, aims for House seat


By Christian V. Esguerra, Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Central Luzon Desk
First Posted 02:02:00 12/01/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Civil & Public Services


MANILA, Philippines—After keeping her political foes and much of the nation in suspense for weeks and months, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Monday finally laid down her cards: She would leave Malacañang next year—and run for Congress.

Claiming public service was “emblazoned on my DNA (genetic fingerprint),” Ms Arroyo ended speculation about her political plans by declaring she would run as representative of the second congressional district of Pampanga in the May elections.

Her announcement was welcomed by her most ardent supporters but also touched off a storm of attacks from her critics, who accused her of positioning herself to become prime minister if the Constitution were to be amended and the country shifted to a parliamentary system.

Already president for nine years, Ms Arroyo is the second-longest serving Philippine leader after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled for more than 20 years.

Surveys have rated Ms Arroyo as the most unpopular leader the country has had since Filipinos regained democracy in 1986.

Heeding a clamor

The 62-year-old Arroyo said her decision to run was the product of both her desire to continue serving and heed what she called a “clamor” by her province mates for her to serve them.

“After much contemplation, I realized I’m not ready to step down completely from public service,” she said on the government-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Citing what she said were appeals from her home district in Pampanga for her to stay in government, Ms Arroyo said: “After much soul-searching, I have decided to respond affirmatively to their call.”

“That situation is so hypothetical I won’t even bother to speculate on it,” she curtly replied when asked if she ultimately intended to install herself as prime minister.

She made the remark during the question-and-answer part of the program that sounded like she was reading from a script.

Romulo Macalintal, Ms Arroyo’s election lawyer, said Ms Arroyo would attend Mass in Lubao town Tuesday morning then deliver a message to her constituents in the second district.

Ms Arroyo made it clear she would be “firmly in control of our national government until the last day I am in office [as President].”

“As President, my first commitment is to the nation we all love. My bid for Congress is spirited, but secondary to my duties as President,” she said.

“I am completely confident that I will perform the duties of [the] presidency with the same level of intensity and commitment I have always had. I will remain steadfast and responsible to the nation until my last day in office,” she added in the interview.

In her remaining months in Malacañang, Ms Arroyo promised to “focus on the executive’s duties to help the Comelec perform its role.”

“Then I will work cooperatively with the incoming administration so that they can hit the ground running,” she said.

Not seeking immunity

Ms Arroyo said she would also need only a little time to campaign in her home province, which she had visited this year for nearly 50 times already—more frequently in the weeks leading to her announcement.

She said she was not after the immunity she would get as a member of Congress in the face of threats by her political opponents—should they wrest control of Malacañang in 2010—to send her to jail.

“The only congressional immunity is from libel suit and utterances made in a congressional session—that’s not what I’m after,” she said. “I have come to the conclusion that I can best serve the nation from a seat in Congress should I be elected.”

In breaking one of the biggest stories of her presidency, Ms Arroyo opted for a quick—and seemingly controlled—interview on government radio, rather than face the private media.

Malacañang reporters got her announcement through a replay of the Radyo ng Bayan interview.

Back to teaching?

Ms Arroyo spoke of other options after she steps down in Malacañang.

“I have been thinking of many opportunities and one day, I hope to pursue them. For example, I plan to go back to teaching or work for causes near and dear to me like climate change, improvement of education and the cause of women,” she said.

“These opportunities will remain open in the coming years. But now, the best way to continue to champion the things I love is in Congress.”

Macalintal downplayed the possible adverse impact of Ms Arroyo’s candidacy on administration standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro Jr.’s own bid for the presidency.

“I’m sure Mr. Teodoro has his own campaign strategy,” he said.

Up to history

Macalintal admitted that Ms Arroyo could still pursue public service without seeking another elective post, but he deferred to the President’s decision.

“History will only judge whether she made a good decision,” he said.

In Pampanga, Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David urged legal minds to seek a court ruling on whether Ms Arroyo can run for Congress after serving as President.

“I wish some legal luminaries in the country can file a case in the Supreme Court for them to interpret the spirit of the 1987 Constitution on this issue,” David said.

Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio said Monday was a “day of sadness” because Ms Arroyo had lost her sense of delicadeza (propriety), and deprived other leaders of a chance to serve the district.

Ms Arroyo’s half-sister, former Pampanga Vice Gov. Cielo Macapagal-Salgado, felt sad about the news.

“I’m not happy about it,” Salgado said.

She said she herself had decided not to run for Congress because she wanted other province mates to be given the opportunity to serve the district of her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal.

In Guagua town, residents Crisanta Santiago and Norma Castro welcomed Ms Arroyo’s decision.

“She has been doing a lot of projects in our district,” Santiago said, without saying what project benefited her. With reports from Leila Salaverria in Manila and Charlene Cayabyab, Inquirer Central Luzon


Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091201-239480/Arroyo-refuses-to-quit-aims-for-House-seat

Critics hit Arroyo bid for House seat as 'dangerous move'


AIE BALAGTAS SEE, GMANews.TV
11/30/2009 | 08:28 PM


Critics of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday lambasted her decision to run as congresswoman for Pampanga’s second district in next year’s election, saying that an incumbent president running for Congress is “fraught with dangers."

Former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, spokesperson of the Nacionalista Party, warned that “for a sitting president like GMA to become a member of Congress is fraught with danger."

In an interview over radio dzBB, Remulla said that with Mrs. Arroyo's power and resources, she can easily form a "power bloc" in Congress that could intimidate the new president that would be elected in 2010.

United Opposition (UNO) standard-bearer and former President Joseph Estrada also said Monday that Mrs. Arroyo should step down after filing her certificate of candidacy to prevent her from using government resources “like what she did in 2004" to ensure her victory against his closest friend, Fernando Poe Jr.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino “Ruffy" Biazon echoed the same view, and also called on Mrs. Arroyo to relinquish her post to avoid conflict of interests. Being the country's chief executive, Mrs. Arroyo is also the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, Biazon said.

For his part, Senator Francis “Kiko" Pangilinan said he was not surprised by the President’s move, adding that Mrs. Arroyo remains “motivated by political survival at all costs."

Mrs. Arroyo wants a “soft landing" when her term expires to protect her back from the threat of criminal prosecution, Pangilinan said. He doubted however if the president could “escape the judgment of history" and “hide from the scandals and controversies that hounded her years in office."

On the other hand, former Senator Ernesto Maceda, spokesman for Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, said in an interview over dzBB radio that while Mrs. Arroyo's plan show her "greed for power," she is unlikely to become House Speaker even if she wins a congressional seat in Pampanga.

An opposition candidate is likely to win the presidency in 2010, Maceda said, and he will likely choose a political ally for the Speaker's post.

'She needs professional help'

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño put it bluntly, saying he has never seen a “leader so obsessed with power."

“She is drunk with power. I think she needs professional help," Casiño said in a text message to reporters.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said, given her legacy that is tainted with “corruption and impunity," the President is no longer "morally" qualified to hold any public office.

"This is a dark day for the Philippines. Her running for Congress is a slap on the face of the many victims of her administration. Her running for Congress is proof that she wants to somehow prolong her reign of terror," Reyes said.

Earlier, Mrs. Arroyo finally ended speculations on her political plans after she confirmed during a radio interview that she would seek a congressional seat in Pampanga’s second district where her hometown Lubao is located. [See: Arroyo announces bid for Congress seat in Pampanga]

Mrs. Arroyo said she is not yet ready to step down from public office and her decision was borne out of her desire to continue serving her constituents.

Lawyer Romeo Macalintal, Mrs. Arroyo's newly appointed political spokesperson, added that there were no legal impediments that would hamper her candidacy. – with report from Johanna Camille Sisante, JV, GMANews.TV

CBCP to keep anti-Cha-cha stance with Arroyo in Congress


Written by Aries Rufo
Tuesday, 01 December 2009


President Arroyo's congressional bid in 2010 may change the Catholic bishops' position on Charter change.

The powerful Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) was open to giving its blessing to amend the Constitution--but only after the May 2010 polls. With President Arroyo’s shadow lurking in the halls of Congress, however, the Church leaders might just change their mind.

“I am certain that the CBCP collectively will not give its blessing to Charter change with Arroyo around [as congresswoman in 2010]. I don’t think even those bishops close to her will agree to it,” former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Oscar Cruz said.

At the height of attempts to tinker with the Charter in 2008, the CBCP said it opposes the move since it will only benefit those who are incumbent. “If the Constitution needs to be changed, it should be by way of a Constitutional convention and after the 2010 elections,” then CBCP president Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said.

At the time, there were concerns that the 2010 elections might not push through. Poll automation preparations, however, progressed this year.

"[But] if she will be in Congress [in 2010], the bishops will maintain their opposition," the now retired archbishop said.

The CBCP has maintained that Charter change has moral dimension. “When the time does come, let it be done with widespread participation and a unity of vision, with total transparency and serenity, with reasons unarguably directed to the common good rather than to the self-serving interests of politician,” the CBCP said in a statement issued in July 2003.

Cruz noted that President Arroyo proved that she “remains fixated to have Charter change once elected,” with the post of prime minister as her main target.

Speculations were rife that President Arroyo would wrestle the prime minister post once the Constitution has been amended. One of the proposed changes in the Charter is to shift from the present presidential to parliamentary form of government where the prime minister is the head of state. (abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak)


Source: http://newsbreak.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7177&Itemid=88889051