Philippines' Arroyo not retiring

2009-11-30 16:05

kalahari.com

Manila - Philippine President Gloria Arroyo announced on Monday she would run for a seat in parliament next year, triggering immediate outrage from opponents who said she was making a brazen bid to stay in power.

Citing her desire to continue in public service and the clamour of her supporters, Arroyo said she wanted to represent her home province of Pampanga in Congress after her term as president ends.

"After much contemplation I realised I am not ready to step down completely from public service," Arroyo, 62, said on government radio.

"I hope to be a champion for the poor and to work to uplift the economy... I will work for this from a position closer to the people."

Retain immunity

However opponents said Arroyo, who is mandated by the constitution to step down as president next year, intended to enter parliament so she could retain immunity against potential corruption charges.

They said it may also give Arroyo a platform to change the constitution so she could continue ruling the country as prime minister under a Westminster system of government, rather than the current US-style presidential model.

"If this was out of a desire to serve the people, it would be admirable," said former leader Joesph Estrada, who is seeking a second term as president in the May elections.

"But it is a brazen attempt to stay in power forever. This should be considered as a warning that the scheming by this regime will not end with this president's term in 2010."

Constitution


In the government radio interview, Arroyo sidestepped a question about whether she wanted to change the constitution and become the first prime minister of the Philippines in a similar move to Russia's Vladimir Putin.

"That situation is so hypothetical I won't even bother to speculate about it," she responded.

Arroyo would be able to change the constitution only if her Lakas Kampi CMD coalition gained enough seats in both houses of parliament in the May elections.

Arroyo gave a more direct denial of accusations that she wanted to enter parliament to retain immunity against graft charges that opponents have said they plan to file against her for alleged corrupt activities while president.

"Congressional immunity is only from libel suits for utterances made in Congressional sessions. That is not what I am after. This will reflect my own level of commitment to public service," she said.

Murky situation

However, with the legal situation extremely murky, critics insisted Arroyo was hoping to dodge graft charges.

"Perhaps that's her exit plan to ensure protection," said high-profile opposition Senator Francis Escudero.

"While it's her right to do so [run for Congress], it surely leaves a bad taste in the mouth. What else does she need to prove and accomplish?"

The Philippines' constitution states that Philippine presidents are not allowed to seek re-election after their six-year term ends.

Arroyo has actually served eight years as president after rising to power in the wake of a bloodless military-backed uprising against Estrada in 2001.

Arroyo had been vice president under Estrada, then went on to win her own six-year term in 2004 in an election tainted by allegations she sought to rig the vote.

Unfair advantage


Regardless of her long-term ambitions, Arroyo's opponents said she would have an unfair advantage while campaigning for Congress because of her presidential powers.

"She's setting a bad precedent [by] hanging on to a presidential post and using presidential power and funds to crush any Congressional opponent," said opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel.

"She's making the political playing field uneven versus all democratic demands for fairness."

In the most recent national survey of preferred presidential candidates conducted last month, the Liberal Party's Benigno Aquino - son of democracy champion Corazon Aquino - had a clear lead with 44% of the vote.

Billionaire property developer Manny Villar was second with 19%, while Estrada was in fourth place with 11%.

Arroyo's designated successor, former defence secretary Gilberto Teodoro, had just two percent support, highlighting the problems the Lakas Kampi CMD coalition would face if Arroyo disappeared from the political scene.

- SAPA

Read more on:    gloria arroyo  |  philippines
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

Marikana ANC office burnt down

A shack used an ANC branch office has been set alight at Nkaneng informal settlement in Wonderkop near Marikana.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.