Press Release
August 7, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the opposition cannot allow itself to be coopted or undermined by the administration with its renewed overtures for cooperation and unity.

Pimentel said the adversarial relations between the opposition and the administration are unavoidable if abuses of people in power are to be held in check and if democracy is to survive.

There is no question that in a democracy, the opposition and the administration will have to be at a loggerheads for the sake of the people, he said.

In her 6th state of the nation address, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called on her political detractors to join hands instead in the biggest challenge of all where we all win or lose the battle for the survival and progress of our one and only country. Virtually telling the opposition to give up their impeachment complaint against her, the President said I dont want it said here, I defeated my enemies.

Pimentel said this is a call that the opposition finds a little difficult to accede to.

We cannot support a presidency which is mired in corruption and whose legitimacy is at issue, he said. It would place us in a very bad fix as an opposition group if we were just to say: Let us join hands and answer the call of the President for unity.

The minority leader said the opposition and the citizenry should not close their eyes to the rampant corruption, injustices, disregard for laws, human rights violations and creeping militarization that are happening under the Arroyo administration.

Pimentel assailed the administrations indifference to the graft charges against former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante who was tagged as the architect behind the illegal diversion of the P728 million fertilizer fund.

Up to now, he said there is no closure yet to the Hello Garci and jueteng scandals and the North Rail contract is still under investigation.

We cannot just say, alright, we will unite with you, Mrs. President and forget about these things, Pimentel said.

He said the country is caught in the grip of terror because of the unabated extrajudicial killings of leftist activists and journalists being perpetrated by death squads believed to have been unleashed by wayward elements in the military and police.

Pimentel said it is a supreme irony that salvagings of suspected enemies of the state and vigilante killings of crime suspects occur at horrifying rate at a time when the death penalty has been repealed by Congress at the prodding of President Arroyo.

To my mind, the President cannot just wash her hands and say, we do not know who were responsible for these killings. Her duty at this point is to stop the killings and order the armed forces and the police to identify and prosecute the killers. Of course, she has been saying that. The problem is if you have a president who has lost her credibility, even the truth that comes out from her sounds like a lie. And this is what is happening in the country today, the opposition leader said.

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