Press Release
May 15, 2009

Press statement of Sen. Loren Legarda

On safety of Manila residents re Pandacan depot

The safety of the people living, working or who pass by around the Pandacan oil depot must be ensured by both the oil companies using the facility and the city government of Manila which had moved to keep the depot operating.

I have serious misgivings about reclassifying the area to let the oil companies continue using the depot, but that avenue had been left open by no less than the Supreme Court in its recent decision ordering the dismantling of the depot.

Pro-active measures must be undertaken by Manila and the oil firms to ensure against catastrophic accidents.

On no-election scenario

The administration says the people should not be conditioned to think there would be no election next year. But who are doing the conditioning? Isn't it that administration congressmen are the ones pushing charter change to have President Arroyo serve as prime minister?

The question is: Who gets to benefit from a no-election scenario in 2010? Isn't it the administration? Now comes the Commission on Election (Comelec) doing a mind conditioning of its own, wittingly or unwittingly, by saying that losing bidders in the poll automation project may sue to stop not only poll automation but the election itself.

Twists and turns are emerging in the administration's storyline, but the plot remains the same: a desperate bid to cling on to power. But the people will not accept any excuse not to hold elections next year, whether through an automated election or manual process.

On new rape complaint vs GI

This latest rape complaint against an American serviceman brings to focus anew the pressing need to review the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and to abrogate the same, if necessary, in order to protect our people from abuses.

There may be similar abuses that are only going unreported, especially with the difficulty or futility of pursuing cases under the VFA against erring American soldiers, as shown by the experience of "Nicole."

It is the responsibility of both American and Philippine authorities overlooking the Balikatan to ensure that participants in the military exercise do not run afoul of the law. They should not take VFA-related complaints lightly.

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