MALACAñANG on Saturday slammed critics of President Benigno Aquino 3rd for refusing to hold a dialogue with the President and for allegedly advocating a no-election scenario in 2016.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte and Dasmariñas Rep. Elpidio Barzaga were referring to the multi-sectoral National Transformation Council (NTC) which had called on the President to step down to pave the way for an “alternative” government.
“The President has always been open to dialogue with people with an open mind and those who are willing to listen. There is no sense in having dialogue with people who don’t want to listen and those who won’t change their minds. There were reports that they are into dialogue but they haven’t taken steps towards that,” Valte said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.
The NTC, which has the support of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Bishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao City, and Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and leaders of evangelical churches, Muslim clerics and civil society, claimed that Aquino has lost moral ascendancy and should step down.
The NTC, in an assembly in Cebu City, vowed to “pursue all necessary and available lawful means to compel President Aquino to step down at the soonest possible time” and “to immediately organize an alternative government, consisting of men and women of integrity and proven worth.”
Malacañang has belittled the movement, saying the group is composed of few individuals.
“Their [NTC’s] demands have no basis in law or in fact. The NTC is practically advocating a no-election scenario in 2016 because it is claiming that the automated voting system has been corrupted since the 2010 elections. They are claiming that those who were elected in 2010 and 2013 elections are all de facto officers,” Barzaga said.
“They have deliberately forgotten the gains and changes made by President Aquino as compared to the previous administrations, particularly in the fight against graft and corruption,” he added.
Barzaga was alluding to the indictment of several lawmakers and other government officials for their alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada were charged with plunder and graft for allegedly pocketing kickbacks from their pork barrel.
Barzaga also cited the result of the latest Pulse Asia survey that showed that 48 percent of Filipinos remain optimistic in the government’s efforts to fight graft and corruption.
“Under this administration, people occupying high elective positions in the government are prosecuted for plunder and other criminal cases involving graft and corruption,” he said.
The lawmaker urged the NTC to revisit the Bible, particularly Matthew 22:21 which he said underscored the significance of the separation of Church and State.