, NOVEMBER 1, 2007 (STAR) By Paolo Romero and Marvin Sy - President Arroyo called yesterday on groups seeking her ouster to wait until her term ends in 2010 instead of destabilizing the government.

In a statement, Mrs. Arroyo said the Constitution clearly sets the next election in 2010.

“Let us not be distracted by the impatient few who believe that they are above the rule of law, and thus entitled to undermine the sacrifices and hard work of our people,” she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said the successful outcome of Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections underscores the people’s firm commitment to democracy.

“That message should not be ignored by groups who are out to destroy the gains of a strong economy through extra-constitutional means,” she said.

Mrs. Arroyo also called for unity and an end to political discord.

In her All Saints’ Day message, Mrs. Arroyo said political discord stands in the way of progress, and that the nation must heal past wounds and join hands in confronting future challenges.

“During this day of remembrance and prayer, let us set aside a few minutes to pray as a family and light a candle for peace and unity to reign in our country,” she said.

On the other hand, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said yesterday he expects Chief Justice Reynato Puno to reject the invitation to head a junta that would take over the government.

“I can only say, from where I sit, I think prudence dictates the Chief Justice thumb it down if indeed there’s an offer for him,” he said, adding that Puno was aware that he may not be exercising propriety by saying “yes.”

Meanwhile, Ermita said he doubts whether the new impeachment complaint against Mrs. Arroyo that the opposition plans to file before the House of Representatives next week would prosper.

“They (opposition) know the rules on the filing of impeachment,” he said.

“I think what they want is to catch attention and be talked about by the public. They know there is already an initiated complaint before the (House) committee on justice.”

Ermita said according to House leaders, the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Roel Pulido has already been acted upon and therefore initiated.

Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated, no other impeachment complaint will be recognized by the House for the next 12 months.

Ermita said the Genuine Opposition (GO) has started talks with Pulido for the possible filing of a consolidated impeachment complaint after criticizing the lawyer for allegedly acting on behalf of Malacañang.

Pulido confirmed that he was talking to members of GO on how to strengthen the impeachment case in time for the resumption of session at the House on Nov. 5.

Earlier, Mrs. Arroyo said the administration’s economic reforms are paying off and “also sent an unmistakable signal that we are serious” about moving the nation forward.

“Our complete focus on the economy, fiscal discipline, a balanced budget and the need for long overdue human and physical infrastructure improvements help round out our economic gains,” she said.

“Our efforts are paying off in a strong peso, low inflation, a robust stock market, rapid inflows of foreign investment and over six million new jobs created in the last six years. Our unemployment rate is the lowest in a generation. So is our poverty rate.”

Three anti-Arroyo Catholic bishops and former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, along with the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya, have called for the installation of a “transition government” to be headed by Puno.

The latest criticisms hurled against Mrs. Arroyo were based on her decision to grant executive clemency to ousted President Joseph Estrada.

Civil society groups, religious leaders and some administration allies are up in arms over that decision.

Estrada was granted pardon in the spirit of national unity and reconciliation and was true to the policy of Mrs. Arroyo to “heal the wounds” of EDSA, Malacañang said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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