‘Step down now’


    LIPA CITY, Batangas: Hundreds of people from various walks of life, varying political persuasions and different religious beliefs rallied here on Wednesday and demanded that President Benigno Aquino 3rd step down because of his failure to deliver on his promises of clean government with two years left in his term.

    In their Lipa Declaration, they stated, “[We] have lost all trust and confidence in President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd, and we call upon him to immediately relinquish his position.”

    “Far from preserving and defending the Constitution, as he swore to do when he assumed office, the incumbent President Benigno Simeon Aquino has subverted and violated it by corrupting Congress, intimidating the judiciary, taking over the treasury, manipulating the automated voting system, and perverting the constitutional impeachment process,” they said in a statement.

    “President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd has also damaged the moral fabric of Philippine Society by bribing members of Congress not only to impeach and remove a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice but also to enact a law which disrespects the right to life of human being at the earliest and most vulnerable stages of their lives, in defiance not only of the constitution but above all of the moral law, the customs, culture, and consciences of Filipinos,” they added.

    The gathering gave birth to a National Transformation Council (NTC) that the rallyists said will stand up against the most pressing challenges facing the country and fight for the common good.

    It started with a national situationer given by former senator Francisco Tatad, who also explained the role of the NTC under whose auspices the Lipa Declaration was drafted.

    A program that followed included a discussion on the role in the transformation efforts of the Catholic Church given by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the role of the Muslim community given by Dr. Kamil Unda and the participation of the Protestant movement given by Rev. Arthur Corpuz.

    Archbishop Fernando Capalla, a former chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the PhilippineS, also discussed the role of the Catholic Church in the transformation efforts, particularly the EDSA 2 experience, which saw the ouster of then-President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

    The final call to action was given by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who appealed to Filipinos to act now on the country’s economic and social ills and not wait until it is too late.

    “We should not let the time go [to waste], otherwise we will be blamed in the future for failing to do something. It has always been in our history. We reform what needs to be reformed,” Arguelles said.

    “Something has to be changed [and]that is why we are here today. Let us do something now,” he added.

    Arguelles said it is not enough to change leaders as it is the system that needs to be changed.

    The Lipa Declaration signed by those present at the rally welcomed the NTC’s proposal to open broad public consultations on the need to modify and strengthen the presidential system or to shift to a federal/parliamentary system to achieve a totally independent judicial department; a merit-driven, professional civil and military service; a totally transparent government budgeting and accounting system; and an irreproachably independent and dependable electoral system.

    Among the signatories was the Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism or ATIN, whose convenor Ricardo Penson said the President “has lost his moral ascendancy” and “taken over the power of the purse” that he said rightfully belongs to Congress.

    Among those present at the gathering were former Chief Justice Renato Corona and the President’s aunt, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco.

    Corona said he attended the event to be one with all those calling for national transformation.

    “We are here to show our support to any effort to institute reforms and to create something good for the country,” he added.

    The former Chief Justice, however, refused to comment on the continuing battle between the executive and the judiciary.

    Cojuangco explained her attendance: “I want to express sympathy for my country and there are certain things that have to be done and I’m here to join the group because I love my country.”

    When asked for a message for his nephew, she said she can only say, “I don’t have a message for him because he believes he knows everything, so I have no message for him.”

    Let him finish
    Administration and opposition senators, however, believe that asking Aquino to resign will not be good for the country.

    They said the President should be allowed to finish his term and continue the reform policy of his administration.

    According to Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, Aquino has done a lot of good things, especially in terms of good governance and social services, thus he should be allowed to finish his mandate.

    “Besides, it wouldn’t be good for the country and our people to switch jockeys in the middle of the race,” Angara said.

    Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito also sees no real reason for the President to step down, noting that it would bring more harm than good for the country.

    According to him, Aquino should finish his term in order for him to pursue programs for the poor, create jobs and address the power problem.

    Ejercito, however, said although he wanted the President to stay, it does not mean that he favors term extension for him.

    He added that he will oppose any attempt to amend the Constitution that would lift the term limits of public officials.

    Some members of the House of Representatives said calls for the President to step down are baseless.

    Rep. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite said they want Aquino to finish his term.

    Deputy Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list agreed.

    The President “was elected by 15 million Filipinos. It is his duty to lead the country. Asking him to step down is baseless and merely the handiwork of destabilizers,” Tugna said in a text message.

    Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello belittled the movement launched on Wednesday and said there is no way that Aquino will step down.

    “The problem is these people will use any issue to discredit the administration’s reform program,” he said.


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    1. I will support NTC but please exclude those clerics because they’re part of the problem themselves.

    2. palayasin na yan si Noynoy! kasama ang mga alipores nya.puro mandarambong sa pera ng bayan! wala kayong nagawang mabuti para sa bayan!ang iniisip ng mga tongresman papano mangungurakot ng pera sa kaban ng bayan.hindi kapakanan ng taongbayan!!!

    3. now you see who are tutas of pinoy tanda bargansa quimpot trenas tugnas malapit ng magwakas ang pagiging sipsip nyo at tuta wal kayong sariling mga prinsipsot ang nasa isp nyo puro pangungulimbat markahan mo bondging dril roxas abad mentor cayetano trillanes guigona malapit na kayo maexile

    4. Actually pnoy’s term is just the remaining months of this year because all of next year will be spent for political positioning and certainly pnoy will not/can not allow himself not to be around. But from what I see it will be very problematic for him because obviously mar does not have any chance and binay might be their (family) man but not his partymate’s so he cannot endorse binay politically. It would be interesting if bongbong comes in and comes in strong let’s brace ourselves with the frantic propaganda against bongbong from the cojuanco-aquino camps. If bongbong gets elected it will ensure the indictment of pnoy for one and the burial of Ferdinand in the libingan ng mga bayani pronto for another. Perhaps the real culprit for the celebrated assassination of ninoy will be finally exposed which could debunk his supposed heroic martyrdom. I think the current demolition of binay, which by the way is not without the blessings of mar and possibly penoy, will just play to the advantage of the next contender likely to win and I am not referring to grace or erap neither cayetano or chiz but to one with a solid bailewik, name recall and money to spend. You guessed it, bongbong.

    5. As fiipino american, i will support this National Transformation Council..i will do that for my country…..but i will also do that,with profound suspicion,since most if not all of em have taken part of that DAP Scam….and they knew it was a SCAM….. but they went ahead for it anyway….that being said, i guess they have had enough of the scandal that is plaguing their strangle hold to our countrys political system….only a few people i trust in that group,but for the sake of our countrys unity….

      i must and will support that NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION COUNCIL–

    6. While sovereignty resides on the people, the big question we face is who are the BOSSES? It’s anybody’s’ free-for-all claim. It’s only in a fair and honest election where the real BOSSES could be found. Not a street demonstration or social meetings where big-shots with a lot of funds can manipulate to deceive a lot of uninformed.


    7. jesus nazario on

      “The President “was elected by 15 million Filipinos. It is his duty to lead the country. Asking him to step down is baseless and merely the handiwork of destabilizers,” Tugna said in a text message.”

      Mr. Tugna, are you absolutely sure that BSAII was elected by 15,000,000 Filipinos ? This is what the utterly defective Smartmatic PCOS said for sure but is that reflective of the true will of the people ? Akala ko ba ang CBAC sinisibak ang kurap ?

    8. Ruben V. Calip on

      Let’s all support the National Transformation Council and at the same time work and act together to have the Comelec get rid of the Smartmatic automated election system and its very expensive PCOS machines. Smartmatic and PCOS machines make a mockery of Philippine elections.
      For the existence of the Philippine Republic and its democratic institutions, Is there anything more important than fraud-free, generally honest credible elections?

    9. Hindi dapat siya bumaba sa puwesto tapusin niya ang kanyang termino tapos puede na siya makulong.Baka humingi din yan ng request para sa hospital o kaya house arrest.Sigurado ako yun kapartido niyan iiwanan o kaya didistansiya sa kanya pagdi na siya pangulo.Isa pa mahirap naman kung bababa siya sa puwesto at si Binay ang papali t lalo dadami ang mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno. Baka magkaroon ng escalator sa isang bahay ng anak ni Binay.

    10. Jose A. Oliveros on

      The Senators and Congressmen named in this news report who are opposing calls for PeNoy to resign all benefitted from the PDAP and the DAP so what can we expect from them except to root for PeNoy’s continuance in office – para tuloy ang kanilang pakinabang. That simple!

    11. Arch. Lito L. Mallonga on

      Who will take over PNoy. I am sure VP Binay will take over. With the
      investigation now going on at the construction of the Parking Lot in
      Makati and the infighting with Sen.. Alan Cayetano the more the country
      will suffer and the entire People of the Philippines and Abroad will
      suffer more. Majority of us are so tired of those so called Honorable
      Leaders who always makes promises specially election is coming again.
      OFW’s and Filipinos abroad sending money for their love once and the
      working class are the real victims here. Taxes are being abused and
      PORK BARREL should be eliminated once and for all.

      Are we selling ourselves to THE DOGS Now.
      That is the BOTTOM LINE!!!!!

    12. The separation of the church and government should be observed. Those ministers/priests or their churches did not contribute for the betterment of our country. They did not pay any taxes eversince, so shut the fuck up. Only those who pay taxes has the right to make noises and not those theives like tatad…

    13. Folks, let us all support the National Transformation Council. Agree, not only the President be changed but the entire political system ins this country. Thanks to The Manila Times and all well-meaning broadsheets which give a good space for this worth project of the NTC.

    14. Senator Angara is totally wrong and biased about how he assessed Aquino’s good performance. What is good about the present situation in the country today? 1. Our debts keeps on increasing. 2. Food prices and other important commodities continue to rise. 3. Impending power crisis and our electricity costs is one of the highest in the world. 4. Political patronage is very alive and worst our taxpayer’s money is being wasted for this purpose. 5. More people live below poverty line. 6. Transactions in the government are still plagued with red tapes. 7. He is abandoning our historical claim to Sabah. These are only few of the many problems confronting our nation today.