JULY 23 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said National Security Adviser (NSA) Norberto Gonzales would not have invited Chief Justice Reynato Puno to head a Malacanang-backed Transition Council without the knowledge of Mrs. Arroyo.

“Under this administration, Mrs. Arroyo calls the shots on all political decisions. Gonzales would not have had the courage to seek an audience with the Chief Justice and offer him the position without the knowledge of Mrs. Arroyo,” he said.

“Gonzales knows that he may be liable for attempting to bribe an officer of the court at the very least, and even fomenting sedition.  Yet he sought out the Chief Justice and made his offer. Bakit malakas ang loob nya?” he said.

Reports said the Chief Justice has rebuffed the transition council being floated by Gonzales since it was unconstitutional.

According to Newsbreak, SC spokesperson Midas Marquez confirmed that Gonzales sought a meeting with Puno and had asked the Chief Justice to head the transition council.

“The Chief Justice stressed that we have to abide by the Constitution and obey the rule of law,” Marquez said. “I don’t think he will agree to anything that is against the Constitution.”

Binay said Gonzales does not have the country’s national security in mind when he proposed the Transition Council concept to Puno.

“His sole concern is to consolidate Mrs. Arroyo’s grip on power beyond 2010 by all means, and this includes enticing the Chief Justice with the idea of leading a transition council,” he said.

Binay had said the Transition Council being peddled by Gonzales will just be a civilian-military junta in disguise, because Mrs. Arroyo will continue to wield her commander-in-chief powers over the military.
“The Arroyo Transition Council will only serve to provide a semblance of legitimacy and a halo of righteousness to an illegitimate, corrupt and morally bankrupt regime,” he added.

Newsbreak reported that under Gonzales’ formula, the Chief Justice will head the transition government and will assume executive functions while a new Constitution is being drafted. Mrs. Arroyo, however, will continue to enjoy vast powers.

Details of the Transition Council were revealed the other day by the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME) who reportedly got a briefing from Gonzales.

KME said it rejected the Gonzales proposal on the ground that it allows Arroyo to stay in power.

The NSA chief initially met with Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias last June 20 at the bishop’s chancery. A second meeting was held, this time attended by KME members, last June 22.

Gonzales told the KME members that bishops from Visayas and Mindanao expressed support for his formula.

Under Gonzales’ proposal, the leaders of the three branches of government would form the core of the council, which will see to it that a new Constitution will be drafted.

Arroyo would still play a major role in the council on the assumption that she is the commander-in-chief and that the military would surely follow the chain of command.


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