Palace insists: No term extension for PGMA
Manila (15 August) -- Charges by administration critics that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's support of Senate Resolution No. 10 is linked to alleged efforts to extend her term of office beyond 2010 are way off the mark, Malacanang said.
Authored by 12 senators headed by Senate President Manuel Villar and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., the Senate resolution calls for the convening of "Congress into a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of revising the Constitution to establish a Federal System of government."
Deputy Presidential Spokeman Anthony Golez said that the Senate resolution only specifies a shift from the presidential form of government to federal form and does not include any provision on the term extension of the President, or any other elected official.
Golez pointed out that the President's 2004 campaign platform bears out her advocacy for a shift from presidential to parliamentary form of government by amending the Constitution, in a move to spur economic development in the countryside and decentralize power centered in Manila.
"The resolution (No. 10) did not include any extension of the term of President Arroyo but focuses on the benefits that a federal state may receive. We must disassociate the principle of federalism from any rumors of term extension of the President coming from administration critics. Rather we must focus on our yearning for the needed change for the continued progress for our country," Golez said.
The President has time and again said that she will step down when her term ends in 2010, and that any political reform she initiated during her term, will, hopefully, be continued by her successor.
Pimentel, himself, has said that Senate Resolution 10 is not intended to extend the term of President Arroyo or any other incumbent public official.
"Let us be very clear. Resolution No. 10 has no intention whatsoever to extend her term, or my term, or anybody else's term. Its only purpose is the adoption of the federal system of government," Pimentel said in a TV interview.
"The resolution strictly specifies what it intends to revise in the Constitution," he added.
The President on Monday expressed support for the senator's proposal for a shift from a unitary to a federal form of government, saying: "We are committed to use federalism to ensure long-lasting peace in Mindanao."
Under the resolution, one of the 11 component federal states will be the Bangsa Moro Federal state. The resolution seeks to convene Congress to a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) to amend the 1987 Constitution.
The Senate resolution dovetails with the plan of the Arroyo administration and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to give Muslims wide economic and political powers starting with the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). (PIA-MMIO) [top]