FITCH RATING: GMA ELATED, BUT HER MIND'S MADE UP NOT TO RUN IN 2004
But undeterred by the President’s apparent resolve at not running next year, Gonzalez said the President cannot turn her back on the growing international and local clamor for her to run and the Fitch assessment "only confirms the wisdom of Mrs. Arroyo running next year."
"That is precisely our point," Gonzalez told The STAR. "Every time you have a new administration, we go back to square one. That is another setback."
"I would venture to say that it is her duty to continue running the country," he said, noting that local and international calls for her to continue her economic policies have a strong bearing on the country’s "national and international credibility, especially on the economic situation."
The Iloilo congressman urged Filipinos to set aside parochial concerns "because we are living in a global village. Other countries are concerned over the political developments here as we are with theirs."
Gonzalez said the signatures of 85 congressmen who signed the petition for her to change her mind and run next year can be translated as a commitment to deliver the votes the President would need to get her own mandate as president.
"The congressmen were elected by their constituents. Each could (deliver) 50,000 votes. So that’s more than four million," he said.
Gonzalez’s petition is being considered by some leaders of the ruling Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) as a nomination for Mrs. Arroyo to be the party’s standard-bearer next year.
Some 25 Mindanao leaders also signed a strongly worded manifesto urging Mrs. Arroyo to run and gave the manifesto to the President after she visited the towns of Pagalungan and S. K. Pendatun in Maguindanao.
The manifesto, signed by Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Vice Gov. Bimbo Sinsuat and their 23 constituent mayors, pointed out that there is a need for the President to ensure the continuity of her socio-economic programs.
Supporting moves to urge the President to run, former communist rebel leader Taruc quoted deceased former President Manuel L. Quezon as saying "only fools don’t change their minds." – With Paolo Romero, John Unson, Ding Cervantes
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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