MANILA, NOVEMBER 1, 2008 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - With the economy being hit by the global financial crisis, the country cannot afford to waste time on “political intrigues,” President Arroyo said yesterday.

Mrs. Arroyo issued the call as she faces another attempt to impeach her in the House of Representative on charges of corruption and human rights violations and moves to reopen investigation into the alleged P728-million fertilizer scam in the Senate that administration lawmakers allegedly benefited from.

“We cannot waste time on political intrigues and grandstanding. Remaining reforms await our common action,” she said in a speech at the signing of Republic Act 9510 or the Credit Information Systems Act in Malacañang.

“Congress has given our people an early Christmas gift through this Credit Information System law. We look forward to Congress adding even more gifts to better protect our people,” she added.

Mrs. Arroyo said the country has so far been able to withstand “the full force of this global contagion because Congress, the Executive, and the Central Bank have been taking decisive action for several years to fundamentally alter our economic fortunes.”

She said the country must remain vigilant against the uncertainties of the global economy.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza earlier said undue politicking is hampering efforts to insulate the country from the global economic crisis.

“We’re more concerned on how we can protect ourselves for a global event like the financial turmoil and these are more important than the matter of impeachment.”

Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto urged lawmakers to prioritize pending economic measures, including the proposed P1.4-trillion national budget for 2009, to strengthen the country’s economy.

GMA goes ‘retro’ In Davao City, President Arroyo went Retro with music from the 1960s at the 61st birthday celebration of House Speaker Prospero Nograles at Apo View Hotel Thursday night.

At around 10 p.m., the President left to join Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at his favorite watering hole, the After Dark Piano Bar along Quimpo Blvd. before she called it a night.

Arriving at 6:30 p.m., the President proceeded to the so-called Malacañang in the South inside the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) compound in Barangay Panacan, where she spent the night for the second time since she first used it last June.

Nograles reportedly sang Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and dedicated it to the President.

The Speaker also sang his other favorites, “Love Me Tender” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight’’ to the delight of the crowd, including Mrs. Arroyo.

Aside from family and friends, among those who attended Nograles’ party were Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Executive and Legislative Liaison Officer Gabriel Claudio, Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, and Local Water Utilities Administration chief Prospero Pichay.

Nograles said in jest that he had two birthday wishes: “One is to be 40 years old again and the other is another term as Davao City first district representative.”

At the After Dark, Mrs. Arroyo and Duterte reportedly just talked over popcorn and drinks for at least an hour and a half.

They were reportedly joined by Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command chief Maj. Gen. Armando Cunanan, Army 10th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Leo Jogy Fojas, and Southern Mindanao regional police director Chief Superitendent Andres Caro II.

Former Davao del Norte Reps. Antonio Floirendo Jr. and Pantaleon Alvarez reportedly also caught up with the President at the After Dark.

The president left Davao at around 9:20 a.m. yesterday. – With Edith Regalado

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved