Proposed transition government unconstitutional – Biazon

Published by rudy Date posted on March 31, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Rodolfo Biazon rejected yesterday a proposal of National Security Adviser Secretary Norberto Gonzales to establish an interim transition government after the 2010 election.

Biazon said the proposal has no constitutional basis and might only cause political instability in the country.

“The proposal of Secretary Gonzales can only evoke many different interpretation of possible motives,” he said.

Over the weekend Gonzales cited the need to have a transition president in 2010 to serve for three years, implement constitutional changes, and allow elections under the new political system.

With President Arroyo’s allies backing Charter change, Biazon said Gonzales’ proposal is suspicious.

“In the end, that proposal could be interpreted as a push for a constitutional amendment through constituent assembly (con-ass) that is now being pursued by the administration supporters or a suspension of the Constitution before the constitutionally mandated conduct of election in May next year,” he said.

Since there is a strong opposition to constitutional amendment being proposed by the administration through a con-ass, Biazon said Gonzales’ proposal can only result in political chaos.

“It is therefore surprising that such proposal would come from the national security adviser. Is he now playing the role of political adviser?” said Biazon.

He stressed that the Constitution clearly provides that an elected president will serve for a term of six years.

If the elected president is not capable to complete his or her term for any reason, the Constitution is also very clear that the vice president will serve the remaining term.

The provision on the line of succession will take effect, Biazon said.

He added that no newly elected president would allow his or her term to be cut by three years just to accommodate moves for the transition of a new form of government.

‘Trial balloon’

Opposition leader and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay described Gonzales’ proposal as “nothing more than a trial balloon.”

“The intention is to introduce the concept of a transition president to the public, without admitting that they intend to cancel elections and install Mrs. Arroyo as transition president,” Binay, president of the United Opposition, said.

He added that the mention of the names of former President Joseph Estrada and religious leader Mike Velarde as possible transition presidents is only intended to divert attention from the administration’s plan to extend Mrs. Arroyo’s stay in power.

“Gonzales left out the substantial part. According to reliable reports, the administration’s original plan is to cancel elections in 2010 and allow Mrs. Arroyo to lead as transition president until the change from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government is completed,” he said.

He pointed out that should the plan fail, a fallback move would be to hold elections for parliament in 2010, where Mrs. Arroyo will run for a seat representing Pampanga and later get herself proclaimed as prime minister.

Earlier, Binay renewed the opposition’s call for Mrs. Arroyo to step down from office, saying the country would never be certain that elections would push through in 2010 or that elections will be clean while she remains in Malacañang.

“We do not need political instability at a time of economic crisis. We need to ensure that the Constitution is upheld, elections will be held as scheduled, and that people will be free to elect the candidate of their choice. To achieve this, the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo would be a first step,” he said.

Binay cited the determined drive by pro-Arroyo congressmen to amend the Constitution through a con-ass, a move widely seen as a ploy to extend Mrs. Arroyo’s hold on power beyond 2010.

The move, he said, is certain to trigger political unrest since Filipinos are widely dissatisfied with her rule.

While the Commission on Elections is set to automate the 2010 poll, Binay said the opposition is not ignoring the Arroyo administration’s “awesome capacity to cheat.”

Binay said “if Mrs. Arroyo indeed plans to step down in 2010, then she should have stopped her congressmen sons from actively soliciting votes for the con-ass resolution authored by Rep. Luis Villafuerte, the president of her party, Kampi.”    -– Christina Mendez with Mike Frialde, Philippine Star

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