PALACE PUTS FOOT DOWN ON SNAP POLLS IDEA, 'WILL NEVER HAPPEN'

MANILA
, October 26, 2005
(STAR) Enough is enough. There will be no snap elections.

This was the declaration of Malacaņang Tuesday as it said there would be no holding of snap elections to replace President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a statement, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said, "The opposition is taxing the patience of the nation with wild and useless options."

"The call for resignation failed. The impeachment failed. Now, this patently unconstitutional call for a snap election which has nothing to do whatsoever with the welfare of the people," he added.

He reiterated that, "The snap polls will never happen. The nation is not about to commit hara-kiri just to satisfy those few who are lusting for power."

"We are pinning our hopes instead on the positive outcome on the shift to the parliamentary-federal form of government that will completely overhaul and stabilize our present political system," the presidential spokesperson said.

Opponents of Pres. Arroyo have called again for her to resign and proposed fresh elections to resolve a lingering political crisis, but the President has strongly rejected the proposal.

Arroyo's opponents call for her resignation, special elections 10/25 10:52:25 AM

MANILA (AP) - Opponents of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called again for her to resign and proposed fresh elections to resolve a lingering political crisis, but the president strongly rejected the proposal.

Arroyo, who has been accused of rigging last year's elections, corruption and other crimes, survived an impeachment attempt by the opposition lawmakers in August when her dominant allies in Congress threw out all charges against her on a technicality.

Her opponents have since intensified their protests. The government responded by restricting rallies, resulting in violent clashes between riot police and protesters.

The Black and White Movement-- a prominent opposition group led by people who resigned from Arroyo's Cabinet-- on Monday urged the president to step down and allow her vice president, Noli de Castro, to take over temporarily until special elections can be held in 2007.

If neither heeds the call by Nov. 30, the group said it would ask de Castro to resign also. In the event of both president and vice president stepping down, Senate President Franklin Drilon would take power and call for new elections within 60 days, the group said.

Vicente Romano, a leader of the group, said Arroyo would not be allowed to join the special elections. "If she cheated, any solution should not include her," he told ABS-CBN television.

Arroyo refused to resign and rejected the calls for new elections, saying they were made by rivals who wanted to destabilize her administration to grab power.

"This is a surefire formula for a banana republic where the next leader will be the object of unending plots and intrigues," presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.

"Our political detractors are getting desperate," he said. "Not having succeeded in the streets and then in the impeachment, they are now calling for a snap election."

De Castro, the vice president, also rejected the proposal.

Ousted President Joseph Estrada separately called on Arroyo and other national leaders to make the "supreme sacrifice" of stepping down, citing his decision to leave the Malacanang presidential palace at the height of massive protests that demanded his ouster over alleged corruption in 2001.

"I, the duly elected president ... made the supreme sacrifice of leaving Malacanang Palace while on official leave to prevent blood from being spilled in the streets," Estrada said in paid newspaper advertisements. He is currently detained while being tried for alleged economic plunder.

As vice president, Arroyo took over from Estrada, then ran in and won a subsequent presidential poll. The opposition accused her camp of massive vote-rigging.

More than two dozen opposition politicians, meanwhile, heard Mass at a Roman Catholic church near the presidential palace then held a brief protest to support calls for new elections.

Riot policemen assembled nearby to prevent them from advancing to the palace but the protesters dispersed without any incident.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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