Press Release
January 21, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today rejected the use of force or violence to change the countrys highest political leadership in the wake of an alleged plot of rebel soldiers to stage another coup, supposedly uncovered by the intelligence community.

Pimentel said extra-constitutional means such as a military coup should be avoided because of the danger that it will bring about dictatorial rule that could turn the country into another banana republic.

There may be a factual basis for the apprehension about a military uprising. But let us not use force or violence, because of the disastrous consequences it would cause for the country. If we want to change our national leaders, let us do it through peaceful means, he said.

Citing Malacañang s own warning that a military coup would be bloody, the minority leader said a violent upheaval can be averted if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, along with Vice President Noli de Castro, will heed public clamor to resign to pave the way for a snap election.

He said the President must have felt very much worried over the escape of four Magdalo junior officers from their detention center in Fort Bonifacio, Makati City since this indicated they could not have pulled a jailbreak without support from within the military establishment.

According to Pimentel, it was impossible for the four junior officers, all participants in the July, 2003 Oakwood mutiny, to escape from the high-security detention center in the premier military camp without the connivance and assistance of the military officers and men assigned to guard them.

In other words, Gloria has every reason to be bothered because while some generals may be supporting her, the junior officers are not and many of them want her ousted, he said.

Pimentel said that while the people generally abhor the use of force, the President is inviting this kind of reaction by her adamant stand to cling to her office despite the fact that she does not anymore enjoy the support of the majority of the populace.

Should Arroyo and De Castro resign now, he said a snap election can be held in April and a new president and vice president can be installed into office in May.

During the interval, Pimentel said Senate President Franklin Drilon will assume the post as acting president in accordance with constitutional order of succession. The acting presidents main task will be to call and supervise a snap election 45 days from the date the vacancy in the presidency occurred.

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