Press Release
November 29, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the administrations plan to postpone the May, 2007 elections and to push for Charter Change despite the lack of material time is a desperate move to avert the inevitable crushing defeat of its candidates at the polls.

Pimentel said the prospect of the administration losing control of the House of Representatives after losing its grip on the Senate is giving President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her political allies sleepless nights because it could eventually lead to her removal from office through impeachment by an opposition-dominated Congress.

I think they are doing this because they have seen the unmistakable signs that administration candidates are bound to lose in the coming polls. The people are fed up with the misrule of President Arroyo. They are wary of voting for candidates identified with her, the minority leader said.

Pimentel maintained that the administration scheme to convene Congress into a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution will not prosper because the senators are almost unanimous in opposing the position of Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. and his minions that amendments must be voted upon by the Senate and House of Representatives jointly, which is patently unconstitutional.

He said the dubious administration plot to cancel the May, 2007 mid-term elections and postpone it to November, 2007 is totally repugnant to the people and will have the effect of hastening the death and burial of Charter Change.

Pimentel said the administration cannot hoodwink the people into believing that the deferment of the mid-term elections under the guise of giving Congress more time to lay down the mechanics of and structure of a unicameral-parliamentary system is for the national interest.

The hidden agenda of the administration has been exposed and it is now clear in public mind. The people now realize that Charter Change is merely a tactic of the administration to prevent an electoral disaster and enable them to perpetuate themselves in power, he said.

Pimentel said this public sentiment was reflected in the third quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations (conducted Sept. 24 to Oct. 2) which reveals that 67 percent of Filipinos will vote no if a plebiscite on a new Constitution were held today.

He also accused the administration of being insensitive to the overwhelming sentiment of Filipinos, as expressed in the same survey, against any postponement of next years elections.

Pimentel warned that if the House leaders will pursue their plan to convene a constituent assembly with the participation of at least 194 congressmen (three-fourths of House membership) but without the participation of the senators, the constitutionality of such move will be questioned before the Supreme Court.

He said he is certain that the high tribunal will adjudge the plan of administration congressmen to amend the Charter all by themselves as unconstitutional in the same way that it dismissed the peoples initiative petition of the Sigaw ng Bayan and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

The House leaders know that before they can convene a constituent assembly, this should be pursuant to a resolution approved by both chambers of Congress. They cannot do it alone. And since there is no way the Senate will go along their dubious move, then the House could not validly perform the task of amending the Constitution. They will be knocked down by technicality right on their first step, the minority leader said.

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