Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gonzalez: 'I think Arroyo will run again'

MANILA - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will run again in May 2010 if efforts to change the form of government from presidential to parliamentary through a constituent assembly succeed, according to newly appointed Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, the former justice secretary said he believes that Arroyo will run for a parliamentary seat in Pampanga so she could be elected as Prime Minister in 2010 in case the current efforts to change the charter through a Senate-less constituent assembly materialize.

"I will not be surprised if the President will run as Member of Parliament," Gonzalez said.

He said threats by opposition presidential aspirants that they will support efforts to file graft and corruption raps against Arroyo after she loses her presidential immunity on June 30, 2010 are helping encourage Mrs. Arroyo's desire to stay in office.

"[I think she will run] lalo na there are so many threats against her naman. Every announced candidate said he will prosecute her. Aba'y 'di... that's a factor, of course," Gonzalez said.

He admitted to having pushed President Arroyo to run for the presidency in 2004 despite having previously announced that she had "decided not to run" so she can help unite a divided nation.

"I was the one who asked her to run again," Gonzalez said. As a result, Mrs. Arroyo received a lot of flak for not keeping her promise.

Gonzalez said that this Arroyo as prime minister scenario will only happen if the 1987 Constitution is changed, and the form of government becomes parliamentary.

He said this is why he is supporting House Resolution 1109 calling on Congress to convene as a constituent assembly in order to amend the 1987 Constitution even without the Senate.
Gonzalez said the Constitution is vague on whether a constituent assembly without the Senate is allowed.

Thus, he said it is necessary for the Supreme Court to settle this ambiguity as soon as possible.
Gonzalez said prospects for a successful charter change via a constituent assembly are declining the longer the process takes. (With a report from Julius Babao, ABS-CBN News) 06/10/2009 7:22 PM


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