MALACAÑANG on Friday belittled a call by the National Transformation Council (NTC) for President Benigno Aquino 3rd to resign for losing the moral ascendancy to lead the country.
In separate statements, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda took turns in defending the President from the NTC attacks.
Both noted that majority of the people want Aquino to finish his term.
“The President is duty-bound to fulfill his mandate from the people. He remains firmly committed to pursue the reforms aimed at achieving stable and inclusive growth for the country. These reforms have been established on the platform of good governance and have gained acceptance by the vast majority of our people, as well as recognition from the international community,” Coloma said.
In a front-page article in The Manila Times on Friday, former senator Francisco Tatad wrote that the “heat is on” for President Aquino who, he said, “has sinned and continues to sin” against the Constitution.
Tatad was referring to Aquino’s expressed openness in extending his term and for limiting the powers of the judiciary, which he accused of abusing its “reach.”
From Lipa City, Batangas on August 27 to Cebu City on Wednesday, October 1, assemblies convened by the council have pursued their call for the President to step down.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who hosted the assembly in the city, challenged Aquino to quit immediately.
On October 1 in Cebu City, the call became much sharper and Arguelles’ message, much stronger, according to Tatad.
The Cebu assembly called on the council 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.”
But Coloma said real “transformation” has been achieved by the President for the people.
“The transformation of the country from being regarded as ‘the sick man of Asia’ to Asia’s fastest-growing economy has been achieved because of the people’s robust support for the administration’s reform programs,” he added.
Instead of listening to the NTC’s call, Coloma said, the government will “move forward.”
“The government will continue to invest in improving the quality of life and developing the fullest potentials of its most valuable resources, the Filipino people,” he added.
Lacierda said majority of the people disagree with the view of the council.
He pointed out that the group failed to consider that society is “pluralistic” in nature and is not swayed by the whims of the few.
“We obviously differ from their assessment. We go about conducting the business of governance. We live in a pluralistic society,” Lacierda said.
Gen. Gregorio Catapang, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, said the “Cebu Declaration” is part of the citizens’ right of expression, not part of a plan to destabilize the government.
“Everybody is free to say what he feels for as long as they will not bear arms,” Catapang told reporters after attending the finance committee hearing on the proposed 2015 budget of the Department of National Defense (DND).
In an interview, Senate President Franklin Drilon said there is no reason for the President to resign.
“Absolutely no basis and uncalled for,” Drilon said.
If it is true that President Aquino had plans to extend his term, he should abandon them now that majority of Filipinos have voiced their objection, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said.
Aquino should instead make use of his remaining time in Malacanang to focus on providing the services to the public that would make them feel the supposed progress his administration is boasting about. With report from