Monday, March 22, 2010

Enrile must be replaced as Senate chief—Angara

Original Story:

SENATE President Juan Ponce Enrile must be replaced to prevent a leadership vacuum when his term ends on June 30 and in case of a failure of the May elections, Senator Edgardo Angara said Sunday.

The threat of a military takeover as declared by Press Undersecretary Charito Planas last week was not a figment of her imagination, and only the Senate president could succeed President Gloria Arroyo when her term expires by the middle of the year in case the elections failed, Angara said.

“This has been suggested by certain quarters—that while there are still 23 senators, we should choose a new Senate president whose term will not cease on June 30,” Angara told radio station dzBB.

“We should discuss this now. At the very least, political leaders should start the debate and reach a consensus on this proposal because if there is no civilian solution, a military solution may emerge.”

Angara said a leadership vacuum would loom if the automated elections failed because the terms of Mrs Arroyo, Vice President Noli de Castro, Senate President Enrile, and House Speaker Prospero Nograles would simultaneously end on June 30.

Once this happened, the Senate president should act as interim president, he said.

“In other words, the succession line will be broken, and that will result in a political vacuum,” Angara said.

“That is why even Malacañang is saying we cannot exclude the possibility of military junta taking over the reins of government. While it is true that the Armed Forces has the constitutional duty to protect the people, there will be discord and chaos.”

Senators Manuel Villar, Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero had earlier proposed a law defining the order of succession to the President, but nothing came out of it because Enrile objected.

Angara cited a bill filed by Nueva Ecija Rep. Edno Joson naming the senator who obtained the highest number of votes in the 2007 elections—in this case Legarda—to be designated acting Senate president as a stopgap measure.

But he made it clear that he would not be initiating any moves to replace Enrile because he did not want to be accused of trying to grab the Senate presidency for himself.

“Let the business community, the academe, and the clergy or religious groups initiate the discussion because they are active in this kind of undertaking,” he said.

He grumbled that when a coup plot was hatched against Enrile during the last few days of the Senate session, he was wrongly pinpointed as one of the conspirators.

And fears of a possible failure of automated elections stemmed from the perception that the Commission on Elections did not have a fall-back position and was not prepared to go back to the manual process, he said.

The Comelec had said the official ballots for manual elections were being printed but were intended to cover only 30 percent of the voting population, Angara said.

Congress erred in its decision to hold a nationwide automated elections without first testing it in some cities or towns. he said. Fel V. Maragay

Original Story:

No comments:

Post a Comment