21 August 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s martyrdom gains special significance especially amidst the rampant abuse of power under the Arroyo administration.

“Ninoy opposed the abuse of power under a regime that does not respect democratic rights and treats itself as above the law. His martyrdom gains special significance today as we fight a regime with a track record of abusing power and dispensing public funds without any concern for accountability,” he said.

The Arroyo administration is caught in a raging controversy over lavish dinners and possible misuse of public funds during a recent working visit to the United States . The opposition had charged that Mrs. Arroyo plans to cling to power beyond 2010 by forcing an amendment to the Constitution, and even by declaring martial law.

Binay said the extensive activities to mark Ninoy’s 26th death anniversary should convince the Arroyo administration that it would be foolhardy for them to pursue their plan to remain in power beyond 2010.

The opposition leader said there are reports that a faction within the Arroyo administration insists on pushing ahead with their plan to cling to power beyond 2010, believing that the outpouring of sympathy for former president Cory Aquino would not translate into concrete opposition.

“I am told that this faction is convinced that Mrs. Arroyo can ride out the public sympathy for President Cory. They still think they can push ahead with their plan to cling to power either through Charter Change or outright martial law,” he said.

But Binay said the various activities marking Ninoy Aquino’s martyrdom shows that the people “have been awakened to the importance of defending our democracy.”

“The Arroyo administration should realize that the various activities to mark Ninoy’s martyrdom are signals that the people will not stand idly and allow the present administration to abuse our hard-won democracy,” he said.

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

The opposition leader said the death of former president Aquino has led to the political awakening of a new generation of Filipinos “who are now aware that the freedom they enjoy was earned through struggle against a dictatorship.”


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