Press Release
April 8, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said various opposition and anti-Arroyo groups have launched a signature campaign for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and holding of a snap election but this should not be misconstrued as their own version of the administration-backed peoples initiative for Charter Change.

Pimentel said he has told leaders of the anti-Arroyo groups that it would be a mistake to think that the signature drive is preparatory to the filing of a parallel petition with the Commission on Elections because they have already taken the position that a peoples initiative to amend the Constitution cannot be validly undertaken in the absence of an appropriate enabling law in accordance with the 1997 ruling of the Supreme Court.

I have told some friends of mine who were thinking of doing their own peoples initiative that this will detract from the strength of our position that there is no law yet that governs it, he said.

He said that the signature campaign to persuade President Arroyo to resign is simply a manifestation of the peoples desire to see her step down.

Pimentel pointed out that the holding of a special presidential election in the event of Mrs. Arroyos resignation does not need a new law since the holding of such election is already spelled out in the Constitution.

He has called for the resignation not only of the President but also of Vice President Noli de Castro to pave the way for the special election.

The Constitution provides that in case of the resignation of the President and Vice President, the president of the Senate will automatically assume as acting president. The Senate president is tasked with calling for a special election not later than 45 days after the vacancies in the presidency and vice presidency occur.

Pimentel said voluntary resignation on the part of the President and Vice President is a much better option than the proposal of Senator Edgardo Angara to cut short the term of the two highest officials by an amendment to the Constitution to provide the legal basis for the holding of a snap election.

Saying this is a matter of perspective on which step should be done first, Pimentel said his view is that before Charter Change is undertaken, President Arroyo must give up power first.

May be in the opinion of Sen. Angara, Charter Change should be held first in order to remove Gloria. I do not see that happening at all. The Charter-Change under the auspices of Gloria, masterminded by Speaker Jose de Venecia, and operated by the master-operator, Secretary Ronaldo Puno, cannot result in the ouster of Gloria. That cannot be, he said.

Pimentel, together with Senate President Franklin Drilon and other senators, have launched a Gloria Resign Movement which will farm out to the provinces to bring the issues directly to the people.

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