12/03/2009 | 03:15 AM
Malacañang on Wednesday admitted that amending the 1987 Constitution has remained one of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s priorities.
At a press briefing, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita even exuded confidence that the President, as incumbent occupant of Malacañang and chairman emeritus of the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-CMD, could easily win the elections and attract allies in the Lower House.
“Let's be realistic, the President is the President. She has a clout. She’s been there eight years so siguro naman (I suppose), I will not be totally truthful if I told you she has less chances of winning. She definitely has all the chances of winning. Then, because of her stature pag andoon na siya (once she takes her seat) definitely, she has a lot of clout," Ermita said.
In 2006, President Arroyo’s allies made an effort to tinker with the Charter through the so-called People's Initiative (PI) campaign. The main purpose was purportedly to pave the way for a shift from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government, but critics saw behind the PI an effort to prolong Mrs. Arroyo’s hold on power by installing her as prime minister.
The PI failed, however, after the Supreme Court ruled against its legality.
On Monday, Mrs. Arroyo ended speculations about her political plans when she announced she was run for a congressional seat in Pampanga’s second district, where her hometown Lubao is located.
But she declined to elaborate on the issue of Charter change and said: "The situation is so hypothetical. I won’t even bother to speculate about it."
Ermita said it remains unknown whether Mrs. Arroyo would really push for Charter change. He also called on the critics of the President not to berate her for seeking a congressional post. [See: Arroyo bid for House seat slammed as 'dangerous move']
"Don't fault anybody for doing something that is different from what you think you should be doing. It's dictating too much on others," he said.
At present, the number of Lakas-Kampi congressmen at the Lower House is more than enough to install their chosen House Speaker. – Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV