20 JULY 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the opposition is prepared to counter any attempt by Mrs. Arroyo’s congressional allies to convert the joint session of Congress on July 27 into a Constituent Assembly (Con Ass).

Binay said he is unconvinced by the statement of administration lawmakers denying any plan to call for a Con Ass next Monday immediately after Mrs. Arroyo delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“The assurances do not sound reassuring enough for us in the opposition to relax our vigilance,” he said.

“In fact, the administration has a track record of doing the opposite of what it says. Remember that Mrs. Arroyo had said in 2003 that she will not run for president, and a few months back, House allies also claimed they will not push for Con-Ass,” he said.

He added that the lawmakers are being less than honest with the public when they claimed they would not use the SONA on July 27 to convene a constituent assembly.

“They may have abandoned the plan, which was reportedly hatched in Malacanang,  to call for a Con Ass on July 27, but they did not say they will abandon Con Ass,” he said.

“On the contrary, the House leadership said Con Ass is back on track, despite overwhelming public opposition,” he said.

Binay also described the crowd dispersal management competition held by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as an attempt to intimidate protesters on July 27.

“The PNP should at least be credited for being more creative in sending its message to those who will join the anti-SONA rally. The event may be described as a competition, but the message is clearly intended to intimidate the opposition,” he said.

The opposition leader earlier said the administration should heed the results of the recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey on con Ass.

“Unless the agenda is to precisely stir up protests to the point that it would justify repressive measures, Mrs. Arroyo has been given due notice by the people that she should not proceed with Charter Change,” he said.

Binay said even Mrs. Arroyo’s assurance that elections will push through in 2010 smacks of mental dishonesty.

“The public knows that Mrs. Arroyo’s game plan to is to hold election for parliament, where she intends to be the prime minister.  Her assurance smacks of mental dishonesty and should give the public more reason to remain vigilant,” he said.


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