Press Release
January 23, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not expect the opposition to positively respond to her overtures for cooperation and unity for as long as she impedes the efforts of Congress to resolve the controversies hounding her administration.

Explaining why he was not attending the Council of Meeting called by the President on June 24, Pimentel said he was constrained by principle not to participate in such activity while the President continues to prevent Cabinet members and other officials of the executive branch from appearing before congressional inquiries that aim to ferret out the wrongdoing of public officials through Executive Order 464.

In a jocular vain, Pimentel sent a letter to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita explaining his rejection of the invitation to the Council meeting, Pimentel said: Sorry, Ed, I invoke EO 464 as my excuse for not attending.

The minority leader said he feels it would be inappropriate on his part to lend his presence in a meeting meant to boost support for President Arroyo when she herself refuses to cooperate in the efforts of Congress to address the issues related to the legitimacy of her government.

Pimentel bewailed that the President, in her desire to camouflage the facts behind the alleged massive electoral fraud in 2004 and other misdeeds of her administration, had to resort to a patently illegal act of issuing EO 464 which curtails the investigative powers of Congress in flagrant derogation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers and checks and balances among the three independent branches of government.

Pimentel said contrary to the assertion of Malacañang , he does not think that it would be a breach of statesmanship if personalities like him will not show up at the Council of State meeting.

He said they simply do not want to commit the mistake of being used in a Palace ploy to co-opt the opposition and to allow President Arroyo to stay in office in the face of incessant public demand for her resignation.

Pimentel added that the seven-man Senate minority bloc, during a caucus Monday, unanimously agreed not to send any representative to the Council of State meeting.

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