GLORIA AGAINST PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMManila, May 10, 2003 -- President Arroyo yesterday implicitly expressed her preference for the presidential form of government and said she would "resist all attempts" to change the system. "We must ensure that elections will be held in 2004. We must respect the desire of the people to have the direct power to install their leaders. I will resist all attempts to breach this principle ... I have already said what I have to say on this matter," Arroyo said in a statement. Presidential chief of staff Rigoberto Tiglao said Arroyo is also unwavering in her stand against a constituent assembly as a means to change the Constitution. He said any Charter revision would have to be made after the 2004 elections. Tiglao said the President is "not right now deeply involved" in the debate over what form of government is best for the country. "She's concerned more on the Mindanao situation (and) other economic problems," he said. At the Senate, Charter change proponents were generally quiet regarding the opposition of the Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai against the attempt to amend the Constitution. Those influential religious organizations had warned Charter change proponents that amending the Constitution at this time would aggravate the country's "unstable" political conditions. They said the moves of pro-amendments solons could be interpreted as efforts to perpetuate themselves in office. Advocates of either the constituent assembly or constitutional convention methods of revising the Charter said they would wait for the result of the Senate hearings on the issue.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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