Bayan to Arroyo: Give Categorical Statement Vs Term Extension


The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today challenged President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to put in writing that she would not seek to extend her term beyond 2010. The challenge came after a United States think-tank revealed a study that charter change to extend the president’s term remains an option of the administration.

“Many cabinet officials have claimed that the president will step down on 2010. It’s the president who has been vague or silent on the issue. She has not assuaged public fears that she will be seeking a term extension,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“We challenge her to put in writing that she won’t support and benefit from any move that will result in a term extension for her and her allies. She must also be the first to stop moves that aim to change the constitution. It has to come from the proverbial horse’s mouth. ,” Reyes said.

Reyes said that declaring her intentions is “only half the problem.”

“Of course we have seen before how the president turned on her word. In 2002 she said she wouldn’t run, only to reverse herself less than a year later. Still, Mrs. Arroyo should make a categorical statement on the matter,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that it will continue to oppose current moves that seek to amend the constitution. “So far there are no indicators that the charter change drive is over. The House of Representatives is trying to push charter change and has brushed aside formal public hearings on the matter. There are also other maneuvers on specific amendments to the charter which could open the way for more changes in the constitution,” Reyes said.

“Charter change is still in play and the people have to be vigilant,” the Bayan leader added.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments will vote on the need and manner of charter change as soon as the different congressional representatives finish their “consultation” with their constituents. There will no longer be any formal public hearings after the committee reversed its decision two weeks ago. There is also a proposal for a specific amendment to the provision that bans 100% foreign ownership of land which could be deliberated immediately on the floor.

On the president’s concern that she will be viewed as a lame-duck president if not for charter change efforts, Bayan said that the president should be more concerned with resolving real issues and problems.

“Why worry about being viewed as a lame-duck president? She should be more concerned with the perception that she is the most distrusted and disliked president since 1986. She should be more concerned with the perception that the Philippines in one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” Reyes said.

“The fear of being viewed as a lame-duck president is only important for a leader who wants to maintain political leverage. It is self-serving more than anything else,” Reyes added.### (PinoyPress)

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