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Renewed calls for Charter Change not meant to keep PGMA in power beyond 2010 -Ermita

Manila (14 August) -- Malacañang said that renewed calls to convene Congress into a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution to pave the way for the adoption of a Federal System of government was not meant to keep President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power beyond 2010.

In his weekly press conference, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said that certain sectors were "jumping the gun" in concluding that the Cha-Cha would be used to keep the President in power beyond her term.

"The President's announcement is really nothing more than just the announcement of the fact that there's a Senate resolution (calling for Congress to convene as a Constituent Assembly to change the Constitution so that a Federal form of government may be adopted)," he added.

"I just could not imagine why people seem to be taking note of an effort on the part of Malacañang to carry on from and taking off from the resolution of the Senate regarding the conduct of a Charter Change to change our (current) form of government to Federalism because I think some people are just jumping the gun when they said that this could only be used as a vehicle for our President…so that she will remain in office," Ermita said.

Ermita said the President, in her earlier speeches particularly her 2008 State of the Nation Address (SONA) she delivered last July 28, had clearly imparted her decision to vacate her office when her term ends in 2010.

"For the remainder of my term until I step down in 2010, the best thing we can do is to stay focused on economic reforms while providing peace, order and stability," Ermita quoted the President saying in her 2008 SONA.

"Sa palagay ko, hindi tatalikuran ni Pangulong Arroyo ang kanyang nasabi sa iba't ibang okasyon na bababa siya pagdating ng katapusan ng kanyang termino sa 2010," Ermita said.

He added that all the brouhaha over the President's statement of support for a shift into a federal form of government stemmed from the recent three-day State Visit of Swiss President Pascal Couchepin where the two leaders exchanged notes on the topic.

"Having a Federal form of government and knowing that we had just undertaken a People's Initiative to change our Constitution two years ago, it was thus natural for Swiss President Pascal Couchepin and President Arroyo to exchange information on the matter," Ermita said.

"Kaya very close ang contact natin with the government of Switzerland. They are good enough to exchange with us their experiences as a Federal form of government," he added. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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