DE VENECIA SURE GMA IS NOT RUNNINGManila, June 6, 2003 -- Speaker Jose de Venecia said Thursday that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is intent on not running for president in 2004. In a radio interview, De Venecia said it was "very clear" that Pres. Arroyo does not want to run next year. "The declaration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is very clear-- she wants to concentrate on economic and social reform to put our country in order. She really does not want to run for president," he said in Tagalog. He admitted that some fellow members at the ruling Lakas-CMD party and even those from other sectors feel that the President should reconsider her decision because conditions in the country are improving. "We asked her, and she is really adamant against running. She merely wants to concentrate on putting the country in order," he noted. In an earlier interview by members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, the Pangasinan solon said that members of Lakas and allied political parties respect her decision to concentrate on social and economic reforms, without any political distractions. He also said that it is only the President who could decide whether to reconsider or not. He further clarified that it is not possible for Pres. Arroyo to automatically become prime minister once there is a shift from a US-style presidential form of government to a parliamentary one. He also denied that there is a plan to make her the prime minister and added that whoever wants to be prime minister should first be a member of the Parliament.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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