Press Release
March 19, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today refuted the widespread perception about the alleged lack of an alternative leader who will replace President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which has supposedly made the people cynical despite their strong sentiment in favor of her resignation.

Pimentel said there is a pool of substitute leaders on both sides of the political fence who are qualified to take a crack at the presidency and one of them is bound to emerge as the standard bearer of the united opposition if an early presidential election is held.

He recalled that when the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos bowed to pressures for the holding of a snap presidential election in February, 1986, he was taunting the opposition for allegedly not having a leader strong and popular enough to challenge him at the polls.

After a series of consultations and negotiations, the then united opposition agreed to field Mrs. Corazon Aquino, widow of the late Senator Benigno Ninoy Aquino, as its official presidential candidate.

Pimentel said he is optimistic that if and when President Arroyo finally heeds the clamor for her resignation and a special presidential election is held, the various opposition groups will agree who among their leaders will be their common candidate.

As a member of the opposition, I am not pushing for the candidacy of anybody. But when the right moment comes, I am sure a deserving leader will emerge to challenge the administration candidate, he said.

Pimentel said whether an administration or opposition candidate wins in the presidential election, the people should unite behind him or her.

He said that Mrs. Arroyo may still be resisting the call for her resignation at the moment. However, he said the President knows that her options are getting narrower and the time will come when she will be left with no choice but to yield to the peoples demand for her to quit.

Pimentel said not only the President but also Vice President Noli de Castro must resign to pave the way for the snap election as the only constitutional, logical and feasible way of resolving the crisis in political leadership that has been hounding the nation for a long time now.

The holding of a snap election, he said, will put an end to the recurrent attempt by disgruntled members of the armed forces and a segment of the civilian sector to remove the President by extra-constitutional and coercive means.

He said this is certainly much better than the transitional governing council that several anti-Arroyo groups are advocating to take over the presidency.

As conceived by Pimentel, the snap election will be held not earlier than 45 days from the time the vacancies in the presidency and vice presidency occur. The Senate president will temporarily run the government as acting president.

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