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PIA Press Release

Palace will not meddle in Charter change in Congress

Manila (4 June) -- Malacanang will not meddle in the Congressional business as far as Charter amendments are concerned, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Wednesday.

"Let's go by the rule of law," Ermita said, adding that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cannot stop Congress from moving to amend the Constitution as long as it is within the bounds of law.

"We are still unsure of the outcome. Let's wait for the final results," he said.

Ermita, however, assured there will be elections in 2010 as provided for by the Charter even as preliminary moves to amend the Constitution can also be done.

He emphasized that while the President supports any move to amend the present charter, she specifically mentioned in her last State-of-the-Nation Address the need to amend only some of its economic provisions.

In a related development, Ermita said he has no knowledge that at anytime the President gave her blessings to administration congressmen to push for charter change.

As to the claims of the opposition that the President gave P20 million each to congressmen who will support the Constituent Assembly mode to amend the Charter, Ermita said it is "highly speculative..not necessarily true." On Tuesday night, the House of Representatives approved through a "viva voce" vote House Resolution 1109, which seeks to convene Congress into a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass).

The House of Representatives adopted HR 1109 by 174 votes.

The bill was drafted by Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte and authored by Speaker Prospero Nograles. Under HR 1109, the term of office of all incumbent elective officials including the President, Vice President, senators, congressmen, governors and mayors shall not be extended.

The resolution also states that "there shall be elections in 2010," and that the term of office of the 12 senators who were elected in 2007 for a six-year term ending in 2013 shall not be shortened and that they should be allowed to finish their term. (PIA) [top]

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