Press Release
February 2, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is facing increasing political isolation as she continues to lose the support of key sectors and allies.

Pimentel said the biggest blow to the President so far is the severe rebuke she received from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines over her administrations acts of evasion and obstruction behind the Hello Garci tapes and other scandals that have caused the erosion of public trust in her presidency.

He said the CBCP pastoral statement which blamed electoral fraud and corruption for the administrations lack of credibility and legitimacy is tantamount to a withdrawal of support from the President.

If this is not the message that the Catholic bishops want to impart, then why would Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP president, state that resignation remains an option for the President? the minority leader remarked.

Considering the moral influence that the Catholic bishops wield in upholding truth and justice, Pimentel said the injurious impact of the CBCPs critical pastoral statement on the Arroyo presidency cannot be underestimated.

He said the tremendous weight that CBCPs criticisms carry prompted Malacañang and its congressional allies to make a sudden turnabout on the no-election proposal by declaring that they now favor the holding of elections in 2007.

Pimentel said that even before the issuance of the Jan. 30 CBCP pastoral letter, the Arroyo presidency had already been mortally wounded by the breakaway of several Cabinet members, former Cabinet members and other administration officials and legislative leaders.

He said even former President Fidel V. Ramos has attempted to distance himself from the administration by repudiating the no-election proposal that the Palace had intended to use as a bribe to lawmakers and local government officials who would support Charter Change and Mrs. Arroyos retention in office up to 2010.

Pimentel said that while Arroyo presidency keeps losing the support from the religious, business, labor, farmers, civil servants, youth and other sectors, the diverse anti-Arroyo and opposition groups have moved to consolidate their forces as they prepare to mobilize the masses of people for future protest actions.

He said the broadening of mass support for a change in the national leadership, plus the restiveness in the military and police, will make it untenable for the President to keep herself in power.

Given these circumstances, there are good reasons to hope that President Arroyo will voluntarily step down and a recourse to violent and extra-constitutional means of changing the government will be avoided, Pimentel said.

Should the President resign, Senate President Franklin Drilon will temporarily succeed her and a special presidential election should be held as early as mandated by the Constitution, hopefully by April of this year.

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