MANILA - Political and legal heavyweights in the Philippines joined forces to call on President Arroyo to issue a definitive statement about her political plans for 2010.
In an open letter published as an advertisement on Tuesday’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, signatories urged President Arroyo to announce that she will be “graciously and promptly relinquishing the Presidency to her constitutional successor on June 30, 2010.”
In her State of the Nation Address speech last July 27, President Arroyo said that the May 2010 elections will proceed. Yet, her allies in Congress have pushed for to change the Constitution amid fears that she would run as for a seat in Congress to qualify as Prime Minister, thus, perpetuating herself in power.
“What the people need to hear in unequivocal language, is that you, your political party and your administration will not pursue any course of action, other than the peaceful transfer of power of the presidency, by ensuring the integrity and successful conclusion of the electoral process every step of the way,” the open letter said.
The 36 signatories of the open letter include senators Rodolfo Biazon and Antonio Trillanes IV, former vice president Teofisto Guingona, and former senators Jovito Salonga, Franklin Drilon, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Wigberto Tanada
Former cabinet officials Rafael Alunan, Benjamin Diokno, Angelito Banayo, Josefina Lichauco, Cesar Purisima, Perfecto Yasay Jr., and Corazon Soliman also signed.
Legal experts among the signatories include former UP College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan and lawyer Harry Roque. National broadband deal whistleblower Jun Lozada, congressional aspirant Gina De Venecia, and detained military officers Danilo Lim and Ariel Querubin also signed it.
Just like Cory
The open letter pressed President Arroyo to “emulate” President Corazon Aquino's example. The signatories highlighted how the outpouring of people who mourned during Aquino's death showed how that Filipinos valued President Arroyo’s gift of democracy.
“Mrs. President, the Constitutional obligation to protect and sustain our democracy now lies before you. The people demand that you uphold your oath of office and reject any plan that will result in chaos, anger and divisiveness that will invariably lead to a dangerous confrontation between you and the people.”
“We expect nothing less that that you do your part to strengthen and preserve our Democracy, by graciously and promptly relinquishing the Presidency to your successor on June 30, 2010,” the letter said.