NO BASIS TO WORRIES OVER MARTIAL LAW, PALACE REASSURES

MANILA
, October 14, 2005
(STAR) Don't worry about it.

This was the gist of Malacañang's declaration Friday over worries that President Gloria Arroyo would declare a state of emergency.

In a statement, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said, "Rumormongers should lay this martial rule issue to rest. The security situation is well under control."

Bunye also reassured the public that, "Destabilization is ebbing and we are going into normalcy."

"We are poised for economic take-off as we regain stability within the rule of law," he added.

Both allies and critics of Pres. Arroyo in the House of Representatives had earlier called on the President yesterday to reject suggestions by some Cabinet officials that she declare martial rule and take over certain vital industries and establishments and curtail certain freedoms.

Those making the call include Albay Representative Joey Salceda, one of Pres. Arroyo's economic advisers, House appropriations committee chairman Rolando Andaya, House Minority Leader Francis Escudero and Partylist Representatives Liza Maza and Crispin Beltran.

Speculations that the country would be placed under a state of national emergency emerged after Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez admitted that he had prepared a draft for a possible government takeover of vital industries amid a worsening oil crisis.

Reject emergency rule, lawmakers ask GMA By Jess Diaz The Philippine Star 10/14/2005

Allies of President Arroyo in the House of Representatives urged her yesterday to reject suggestions by some Cabinet officials that she declare a state of emergency and take over certain vital industries and establishments and curtail certain freedoms.

"A state of emergency declaration or an emergency rule is unnecessary, unreasonable and dysfunctional," Albay Rep. Joey Salceda told reporters.

He said if the proposed government takeover of certain industries and businesses is meant to bring down consumer prices, it won’t work.

"Emergency rule cannot bring down prices of crude oil and electricity. We can fix that problem without the President resorting to emergency rule," he said.

Salceda belongs to a small group that advises Mrs. Arroyo on the economy. He is a former economics student of the President at the Ateneo and was a hotshot stock market and financial analyst before seeking a congressional seat.

He said foreign investors and fund managers have started inquiring about rumors of an emergency rule to find out "whether we are serious about it."

"As it stands, such emergency rule talk is taking on a life of its own that could only bring us closer to the disaster it is anticipated to resolve. It is propagating the predisposition of panic that it precisely plans to pacify. It is creating more problems and hardly solves any," he said.

He said whoever started the rumor is a "sadist" since he is now making life hard for himself and the entire country.

"I cannot understand why we are punishing ourselves with such tension. If it is deviously engineered to deflect political heat, it is not helping the President. If it is meant to intimidate her political rivals to submission, then it only alienates, aggravates and agitates them," he stressed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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