Press Release
December 9, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today suspected that the threat of massive street demonstrations against Charter Change and extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo government could be the real reason behind the unfortunate and shameful decision to postpone the 12th leaders summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cebu to a later date.

Pimentel assailed the Arroyo government for its lack of forthrightness about the real reason or reasons that prompted organizers of the ASEAN summit to reset the date of the event.

The cancellation of the ASEAN leaders summit is ominous. It could mean that ASEAN leaders have no faith in the capacity of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to maintain law and order and ensure their safety. Or Charter Change has unleashed uncontrollable forces of upheaval, he said.

The minority leader said the organizers claim that the threat of Typhoon Semiang led to the decision falls flat in the face of the advisory from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) would not directly hit Mactan Island and Cebu City, the sites of the ASEAN submit.

Pimentel said that President Arroyo was probably afraid that if the ASEAN summit pushes through, the holding of massive street protests in Metro Manila, Cebu and other parts of the country denouncing her misrule and the sufferings of the Filipino people would cause embarrassment to her administration.

He noted that major religious groups the El Shaddai led by Bro. Mike Velarde, the Jesus is the Lord Movement led by Bro. Eddie Villanueva and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, led by Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, have agreed to join forces with cause-oriented non-government organization and the mainstream political opposition in launching a series of protest rallies against the constitutionally-flawed administration-backed convening of Constituent Assembly to amend the Charter.

Despite the shelving of the ASEAN summit, Pimentel said world leaders already know that President Arroyo has been rendered incapable of running the country without disregarding the rule of law and trampling upon the rights of the people.

On reports that the leaders of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) have asked the President to abandon Charter Change, Pimentel said a number of provincial governors have confided to him that they are appalled at the way Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. and his minions are pushing a patently illegal mode of amending the Constitution although they do not want to be identified right now.

Pimentel also lauded the move of the administration congressmen from Metro Manila to withdraw support from the planned Constituent Assembly if this would result in cancellation of the May, 2007 elections and extension of the terms of office of elected congressmen and other elected public officials.

GMA and JDV led House of Representatives wasted time and money on Charter Change to promote their personal agenda instead of relieving the people from typhoon devastation, corruption and extra-judicial killings. Lets boot them out in peace.

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