Former Philippine president Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada is determined to block President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s bid to become Prime Minister of the country.
In his press statement yesterday, Estrada said he may run for a congressional seat representing the lone district of San Juan where he was a former mayor. If he wins, he plans to block any attempt by President Arroyo to amend the constitution to pave the way for a parliamentary system of government.
President Arroyo’s allies in congress have been pushing for the holding of a constituent assembly to for the purpose of amending the constitution and to adapt a parliamentary system of government. Her political opponents believe that constitutional assembly will subsequently pave the way for president Arroyo to stay in power beyond 2010 as Prime Minister.
>This is just to show that the idea of President Arroyo running for Congress to keep herself in power forever is an audacious if not a ridiculous idea,” Estrada spokesperson Margaux Salcedo said.
“If the administration insists on keeping Mrs. Arroyo in power beyond 2010 by a change to a parliamentary system of government and by making Mrs. Arroyo prime minister, they can be certain that the opposition is ready to counter their actions to ensure that she does not hold on to power forever,” Salcedo said. >
President Arroyo is on her last term as president. The law prohibits her from running for the same position beyond the 2010 national elections.
The president’s allies in congress have been strategizing for her to hold on to power beyond her term which expires next year.
Mrs. Arroyo’s political opponents are saying that the president needs to hold on to an elective position when she steps down next year in order to enjoy certain immunities from suits which may be filed against her for alleged graft and corruption and other anomalies in government during her term.