2009 (STAR) Malacañang today said it welcomes the petition of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. before a Makati court to declare Executive Order 839 illegal.

EO 839 freezes the prices of petroleum products, included liquefied petroleum gas, at their Oct. 15 levels in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Northern Luzon where a state of calamity remains in place.

“We welcome this petition filed by Shell to finally settle the issue. That’s the right of Shell under the law to seek redress for imagined grievances as it is the responsibility of the government to protect the interest of the greater number,” said Press Secretary Cerge Remonde In an interview with Radyo ng Bayan,

Citing that he might be held in contempt for discussing the court petition, Remonde refused to comment on Shell’s claim that the executive order did not stipulate the conditions for determining “exceptional circumstances to warrant the exercise of emergency powers.”

Remonde said Malacañang is standing by what it deems as “the good of the majority of the people.” He suggested the oil companies “listen to the sentiments of the people”, especially those who are still suffering the effects of back-to-back destructive typhoons.

Meanwhile, Remonde said the Energy Regulatory Board must explain to the public its decision allowing Manila Electric Co. to increase electricity prices by 25 centavos per kwh for November. TOP


PGMA, Clinton to discuss clean elections in 2010

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will discuss the smooth turnover of power and the implementation of a clean, honest and orderly election when US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits the Philippines next week on her way to Singapore for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit.

“These are issues that the President and Secretary Clinton see eye to eye,” Remonde said in an interview today with Radyo ng Bayan.

“She (the President) is pushing for the automation of election and will provide the Commission on Election with whatever help it needs for a successful election in 2010. The President also wants a peaceful and orderly transition of power,” he said.

Remonde said the visit of Secretary Clinton “further shows that the Philippines and the United States have very good relations.”

On a personal note, Remonde said the Palace welcomes the visit of Secretary Clinton, whose last visit to the country was as the US First Lady. The President and former US President Bill Clinton have known each other since they were classmates at the Georgetown University in the United States. TOP


Palace confirms PGMA’s plan to turn over Lakas to Gibo

Malacañang this morning confirmed reports that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo plans to turn over the leadership of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition to party standard bearer Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde made this announcement in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan, saying that the President stated her desire to pass the torch of leadership to the party’s choice of standard bearer in keeping with the party tradition. She also wanted to pass the torch to the younger generation.

Reacting to the announcement of Secretary Teodoro that he is resigning on Nov. 15, Remonde said “we (the President and I) have talked about it. We are ready with the replacements for the Cabinet secretaries who will resign for their personal reasons from within the organization. Until we have finally appointed them, I would rather not talk about it.

Remonde added Cabinet replacements will most likely come from within the ranks so there will be no need for long adjustments.

Remonde said he has decided to serve the President as her press secretary until her term ends. “If she will give me another post, I will request that it would be in addition to my being press secretary because I already have good rapport and harmonious relations with the media,” he said.

Meanwhile, Remonde said Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, a former Lakas-Kampi-CMD vice presidential aspirant, is busy supervising the preparations of the Philippine National Police operations for the rescue of Columban priest Fr. Michael Sinnott.

Remonde said the supposed endorsement by Batangas Bishop Arguelles of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose Atienza, Jr. for president might be traced to the Secretary’s being “an active member of the Catholic church and his stand against the reproductive health bill, unlike presidential aspirant Senator Noynoy Aquino’s support for the RH bill.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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