Press Release
February 27, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed apprehension that the state of national emergency declared by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be used by her to intimidate the senators into agreeing to Charter Change, including the questionable provisions that will allow her to keep her post with undiminished powers even after a parliamentary system is adopted.

Pimentel dared the President to heed the suggestion of her own economic advisers to immediately recall Proclamation No. 1017 placing the country under a state of emergency, to avoid prolonging its adverse economic and political consequences.

He agreed with the observation by well-meaning citizens that Proclamation 1017 has lost its reason for being in the light of the governments claim that the alleged coup attempt by rebels has already been crushed and its conspirators neutralized by the military and police.

Armed with a tool for intimidation in the form of Proclamation 1017, the more Gloria will push for Charter Change in both houses of Congress. And woe to lawmakers who would continue to resist the amendments that the administration is advocating, Pimentel said.

The minority leader said he foresees the Palace resorting to making threats on the senators, making life difficult for them as long as they do not drop their objections to Charter Change, which she is using to divert attention from the scandals of her administration.

Pimentel said any undue prolongation of the state of national emergency will only lend credence to suspicion that administration will use it for agenda other than counteracting an alleged coup threat.

Indeed, we cannot discount the possibility that they will cash in on Proclamation 1017 to get Charter Change moving and even to railroad its approval by Congress, and subsequently the people through a plebiscite, Pimentel said.

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