Two allies urge Arroyo to rest after term ends

www.abs-cbnNEWS.com | 06/11/2009 7:29 PM

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Of course, they would. The cracks are there, and the exodus away from the PALAKA (Partido Lakas Kampi) has begun. There will be more statements of positioning and distancing in the next few days, weeks, months.

The GMA presidency is playing out like one of the tragic plays of Shakespeare: to be powerless, to be alone, and to be betrayed by those whom you trusted, alack and alas, that is how the wheel mercilessly turns.

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If President Arroyo were to seek their advice, Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor and Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino would tell her to forego any plan to seek another elected post after her term expires in June 2010.

“Definitely, she can't run for president. But if it's for another office, she can run. She can run as congresswoman or member of Senate. Pero nakapagsilbi na naman sya sa bayan. Siyam na taon na naman. Wala naman talagang public clamor for her to stay in office. Siguro, tama naman na magpahinga na,” Defensor, a member of the ruling Lakas-CMD-Kampi, told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s irrelevant to me whether she seeks another position,” Antonino, also a member the Lakas-CMD-Kampi, said at another press conference.

Although he said he is not privy to the President’s plans, Antonino said he was not surprised when he heard the report that Mrs. Arroyo may run for parliament in case there is a shift to a parliamentary form of government.

“It's natural. Maghahanap ng protection,” he said.

Nevertheless, Antonino said it may be best for the Arroyo family to live a private life after 2010. He cited the health condition of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, who underwent a heart surgery in 2007.

Antonino noted how the First Gentleman, a fan of Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, upon the advice by his doctors, is not even allowed to watch boxing matches.

Arroyo to run if...

Presidential Legal Adviser Raul Gonzalez, in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News’s Julius Babao on Wednesday, said President Arroyo will run again in May 2010 if efforts to change the form of government from presidential to parliamentary through a constituent assembly succeed.

He said he believes that President Arroyo will run for a parliamentary seat in Pampanga so she could be elected as Prime Minister in 2010 in case the current efforts to change the charter through a Senate-less constituent assembly materialize.

"I will not be surprised if the President will run as Member of Parliament," Gonzalez said.

He said threats by opposition presidential aspirants that they will support efforts to file graft and corruption raps against Arroyo after she loses her presidential immunity on June 30, 2010 are helping encourage Mrs. Arroyo's desire to stay in office.

"[I think she will run] lalo na there are so many threats against her naman. Every announced candidate said he will prosecute her. Aba'y 'di... that's a factor, of course," Gonzalez said.

Broken promise

He admitted to having pushed President Arroyo to run for the presidency in 2004 despite having previously announced that she had "decided not to run" so she can help unite a divided nation.

"I was the one who asked her to run again," Gonzalez said.

As a result, Mrs. Arroyo received a lot of flak for not keeping her promise.

Gonzalez said that this "Arroyo as prime minister scenario" will only happen if the 1987 Constitution is changed, and the form of government becomes parliamentary.

He said this is why he is supporting House Resolution 1109 calling on Congress to convene as a constituent assembly in order to amend the 1987 Constitution even without the Senate.

Gonzalez said the Constitution is vague on whether a constituent assembly without the Senate is allowed.

Thus, he said it is necessary for the Supreme Court to settle this ambiguity as soon as possible.

Gonzalez said prospects for a successful charter change via a constituent assembly are declining the longer the process takes.

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