MANILA - President’s Arroyo’s spokesman on Sunday has reiterated that the president is not running for public office in the 2010 election amid protests by her critics slamming the approval last week by the lower House of a resolution to convene a constituent assembly (con-ass).
“Hearsay lang iyan. Wala namang ebidensya na tatakbo siya... Wala kaming napag-usapan na planong tumakbo,” said Sec. Cerge Remonde, spokesman of President Arroyo in a press conference. The press conference was held after Mrs. Arroyo arrived from working visits in Russia and South Korea.
Remonde also slammed the opposition bloc for raising the issue.
“But of course, it is very popular, very easy, what the politically expedient thing for the opposition to do is to make it appear that this is for the extension of the term of President Arroyo. Because by doing so they are demonizing the president, they are making the administration look bad in an attempt to gain pogi points,” said Remonde.
Congress not Palace
The presidential spokesman also denied that Malacañang was behind and was orchestrating the move to convene a con-ass.
“We would like to reiterate the position of Malacañang that that matter is with Congress... that is not initiated by Malacañang,” said the presidential spokesman.
He said con-ass proponents were seeking to resolve a Constitutional issue.
“Para lang magkaroon ng justiciable issue. Kung ano ba talaga ang kahulugan ng constituent assembly in the Constitution and 'yan ang sinasabi ng mga cha-cha proponents,” said Remonde.
Remonde also described the recent “successful working visit to South Korea and Russia” of President Arroyo.
“We are able to get a investment commitment P2.211 billion,” said Remonde of the president’s talks with leaders of the South Korean government and business sector.
He said the investments were for a rice processing complex, alternative energy projects, tourism products and the building of a facility for ship components by Hanjin.
On President Arroyo’s attendance to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in Russia, Remonde said the president “stood out as the voice of the Third World and developing nations.”
“In that forum the president was really able in projecting the need for the world to look at the global economic perspectives not only of the developed countries but of the developing countries,” said Remonde.
The presidential spokesman also said Mrs. Arroyo promoted the Philippines when she met major tourism operators of Russia.
What was more important, Remonde said, was that in the Mrs. Arroyo’s meeting with Russia president Dmitry Medvedev an air agreement between the two countries was agreed to be signed soon. Remonde said that this would be major boost to tourism in the country.
Various mass actions are expected to be staged beginning next week in protest of the Con-ass resolution of the House of Representatives approved last Tuesday.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), however, reminded protesters to do away with violence when holding rallies.
“Express it in a peaceful non-violent way in order that we may not fall into the trap that will necessitate martial law again,” said CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in a statement posted on www.cbcpnews.com.
“Learn the lesson from the past,” he added, pertaining to the declaration of martial law in 1972.
Lagdameo also called on the lower chamber of Congress to drop House Resolution 1109. He noted that the CBCP stands by its position against Charter change before the 2010 national elections.
“If there should be let it be after 2010 and via a Constitutional Convention whose delegates are democratically elected by the people,” said Lagdameo.
Activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) welcomed the CBCP statement.
“The nationwide rallies are expected to be peaceful and organized but the outrage will certainly be there. Rain or shine, we will march against Con-Ass," said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. in a statement.
“There are now efforts in the various provinces and regions to mount protest actions together with the religious and the opposition. We're reaching out and organizing provincial and regional activities to coincide with the June 10 Ayala rally,” he added.
The June 10 rally in Makati City is expected to be attended by leaders and members of the United Opposition, BAYAN, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (Women), Concerned Citizens Movement, Edsa 3 Coalition, Black and White Movement, Gabriela, and Kabataan,
Former vice president Teofisto Guingona is also set to participate in the rally along with members of the Liberal Party, Change Politics, MyErap, Akbayan, Sanlakas, Artists Revolution, Pagbabago, Filipinos for Peace, Justice and Progress Movement (FPJPM), Movement for Good Governance, and Bangon Pilipinas.