Press Release
April 7, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today asked political cohorts of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stop dragging his name into their odious scheme to railroad the amendment of the Constitution and to set up a so-called Interim Parliament.

Pimentel said the administration camp is merely attempting to offset public resistance to Charter Change by mentioning the names of opposition personalities like him as potential candidates for prime minister.

So I am asking them: Dont use my name in you charade, the minority leader said.

He said the real agenda of the administration-sponsored Charter Change is to ensure President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos political survival in the face of renewed impeachment attempt against her and intensifying demands for her resignation.

Pimentel said this agenda will be pursued through the following steps:

1. Allowing President Arroyo to stay in office even after the establishment of a parliamentary system and to exercise similar if not stronger powers as head of government until 2010. 2. Abolishing the bicameral Congress and replacing it with an Interim Parliament by 2007 and a regular Parliament by 2010. 3. Making the incumbent congressmen and senators automatic members of the Interim Parliament and scrapping the 2007 legislative election, thereby ensuring that it remains under the control of the administration and therefore beholden the President Arroyo. 4. Conversion of the Interim Parliament into a constituent assembly to introduce further amendments to the Constitution leading to the establishment of a regular parliament.

Pimentel said the plan also calls for installing Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. as prime minister as a reward for his loyalty and services to the President.

He said the administration is trying to deodorize this plan by floating the names of opposition senators and other leaders as likely rivals of De Venecia to the prime ministership.

Pimentel accused the administration of engaging in a grand deception of the people by not discussing these important proposed amendments while soliciting their signatures for the petition for Charter Change.

Any discussion of the term of President Arroyo was discouraged by Malacañang during the March 25 barangay assemblies nationwide, obviously because of the strong public pressure for the Presidents resignation, the minority leader said.

Pimentel also charged that automatic membership in the Interim Parliament is being dangled to bribe congressmen and senators to drop their resistance to Charter Change.

Such proposition, he said, is quite attractive specially to lawmakers whose term will expire on June 30, 2007.

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