AUGUST 7 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said Mrs. Arroyo could best honor the memory of former President Cory Aquino by resigning from office.

“If Mrs. Arroyo is really sincere in honoring the memory of President Cory Aquino, then she should heed the call made by Cory in 2005 and step down from power,” Binay said.

The former president, whose funeral Wednesday was attended by hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, had called for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo in 2005 at the height of the “Hello Garci” scandal.

In several taped conversations, Mrs. Arroyo is heard discussing election fraud with former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. The scandal triggered protest actions led by Aquino as well as the resignation of key Palace officials.

Binay said the ambition of Mrs. Arroyo to be “prime minister for life” ended on the day Aquino was laid to rest by hundreds of thousands of Filipinos last Wednesday.

“Mrs. Arroyo’s ambition of clinging to power beyond 2010 vanished on the day we laid Cory Aquino to rest. The mood has shifted drastically, and the people will not sit down and allow Mrs. Arroyo to dishonor the memory of Cory Aquino by trampling upon our Constitution and our democratic rights,” he said.

Binay dismissed Malacanang’s assurance that Mrs. Arroyo will not extend her term beyond 2010 as an exercise in “doublespeak.”

The issue against Mrs. Arroyo is not term extension but her desire to cling to power beyond 2010, he said.

“Malacanang is once again engaging in doublespeak. They say Mrs. Arroyo has no intention of extending her term beyond 2010. But we are not talking about term extension but her desire to cling to power,” he said.

The opposition leader said shifting to a parliamentary system where Mrs. Arroyo can become prime minister “remains an active option,” he said.

“As far as Mrs. Arroyo and her allies is concerned, it’s still all systems go. But the situation is a lot different now. If at the start they were banking on the people’s supposed apathy, now they face an awakened public,” he said.

For Binay, Mrs. Arroyo’s all-but declared plan to run for Congress in Pampanga and the persistence of her allies to bring the Charter Change issue to the Supreme Court show that the administration “has not heeded the writing on the wall.”

He also warned against persistent reports that Arroyo allies are gearing up for declaring a state of emergency and even martial law, amid fears that the automated elections in 2010 will be marred by confusion.

Earlier, Binay warned that the Arroyo administration faces a “political upheaval” should it push through with its agenda of clinging to power beyond 2010.

The opposition leader said Aquino’s death has led to the political awakening of a new generation of Filipinos.

“I am certain that if Mrs. Arroyo pushes through with her selfish agenda, the spirit of Cory Aquino will rally the people,” he said.

Binay added: “Mrs. Arroyo faces a political upheaval if she goes through with her plans.”


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