GMA INTERVENES TO AVERT CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

MALACANANG, October 28, 2003  (STAR) President Arroyo was forced to interfere in the impeachment process against Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. to avert a constitutional crisis.

"Indeed, it was not my intention, until now, to interfere in the substance of the constitutional process put in motion at the legislature, or much less to interfere in behalf of any parties involved," she said.

"It is my job as Chief Executive to make that assurance stay a reality and to avert a constitutional crisis," the President said.

Speaking at the oathtaking of presidential appointees at Malacañang, Mrs. Arroyo said "certain quarters" are out to "capitalize" on the looming constitutional crisis following the impeachment of Davide.

"I have been trying to seek a principled solution in the national interest," she said. "I earlier said last Thursday that this being an issue involving a coequal branch of government, I deemed it proper for the executive to stand aside and allow constitutional processes to take its course."

Mrs. Arroyo said a "political threshold" has been reached in which the presidency has been called to assume the "extraordinary duty" to mediate a controversy that might destabilize the government.

"But lurking in the distant clouds is the possibility again that the days of dictatorship and authoritarian rule may come upon us if we are not careful to avert the crisis that could lead to destabilization," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said the nation cannot go into the "trauma" of another impeachment trial, which had deeply divided Filipinos.

"We cannot afford to divide it again, already divided as it is," she said.

"We cannot afford our country to go into the way of destruction because of greater divisions, and I see my role at this point in time as somebody who would seek the healing, who would seek reconciliation, who would seek a solution to the constitutional crisis that we all want to avoid."

She has decided to intervene to resolve the conflict between the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court, Mrs. Arroyo added. — Marichu Villanueva


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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