Monday, November 30, 2009

President Arroyo Should Turn Over the Reins of Government if She Runs for Congress

President Arroyo Should Turn Over the Reins of Government if She Runs for Congress

President Arroyo should either resign or go on leave if she pursues her desire to run for the 2nd Congressional District of Pampanga. Of course, her counsel Atty Romy Macalintal will argue that there is no legal impediment for her to seek another elective post. That is a well known fact. The law does not compel her to vacate her post either by resignation or going on leave. I won’t even go into a discussion on delicadeza. We all know what the answer to that issue.

But I offer other reasons why she should give the post of president to someone else who can take full charge in a full time capacity the role of leading this nation during the elections.

The Maguindanao Massacre was definitely a politically motivated incident, one that is expected to have repercussions all the way to election day. It may even have spill over effects to neighboring provinces and spread throughout ARMM. In fact, one of the president’s allies is even proposing that martial law be imposed in that part of Mindanao to ensure peace and order.

Being a presidential election, other hotspots are expected in other parts of the country, hence the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police will surely be on their toes in maintaining peace and order during the elections. This is the reason why I had earlier proposed that the Armed Forces Chief of Staff be extended beyond his retirement date of March 10, 2010, just so that the AFP will not have a change in leadership in the middle of the campaign period.

Being the Commander in Chief, the president should be full time in overseeing the enforcement of laws and measures to maintain peace and order during the elections. The president should not be sidelined by the concerns of her campaign for another elective post, a local one at that. We should not gamble with the president merely allowing an underling (especially the current acting Secretary of Defense Bert Gonzales) to carry out her instructions as she campaigns. Someone should take over the responsibility and accountability during that time.

Another matter which necessitates the full time attention of the President is the implementation of the first automated elections in the country. IT will be best for the country not to have a president distracted and preoccupied with a candidacy in the local elections while this historic venture into uncharted waters is being experienced by the country.

The president’s legal eagles and political pundits will simply repeat their script to defend the president’s decision to run---that there is no legal impediment to her candidacy. And it would be foolish for people to expect delicadeza to prevail. So if she wants to run, let her run.

But what I would like to raise at this point is the duty of the Office of the President ( the position, not the person) to ensure that the elections will be clean, credible and peaceful. She cannot do that full time if she will be a candidate for a local position in 2010. So if she wants to run, then she should turn over in accordance to legal processes the reins of power to someone who is not running for office and can perform the job full time.

Of course that would be the Vice President.

God bless the Philippines!

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