‘GMA for congresswoman’

    SASMUAN, Pampanga – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will resign as president 60 days before the 2010 elections and appoint Vice Pres. Noli de Castro as acting president.

    She will then run for congresswoman in the second district of Pampanga. This, in time for an anticipated shift to a parliamentary system of government where she could land as prime minister.

    In an interview yesterday with Punto, Pampanga’s first district Rep. Carmelo Lazatin said this scenario of events is circulating among some pro-administration members of congress.

    “I think she will,” Lazatin replied when asked whether he thought the President had plans to run for congress in her bid to be later absorbed as assemblywoman in a parliamentary system of government under a new Constitution.

    Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Aurelio Gonzalez, who was with the President in her sorties to Lubao, Arayat, and Bacolor in this province only last Monday, also said  such a scenario was “also in my mind” amid  the President’s recent unusual number of visits to her home province, particularly in the second district where she is a registered voter.

    He declined to say more, but added “it’s up to the public to analyze her movements”. He noted, however, that the President has not talked to her about such plans.

    Lazatin stressed, however, that “the presidential elections will push through as scheduled or people will get angry. But it will be timed for the holding of a plebiscite  that will change the Charter.”

    Lazatin, who is known to be one of the President’s close political advisers in Pampanga, admitted, however, that the President herself has revealed such plans to him, although her supporters in congress have been talking about such scenario.

    The plebiscite is expected to lead to a shift to a parliamentary system of government that would be put in place immediately, he added.

    “Members of congress will be come assemblyman and seven senators will be absorbed,” he also said.

    Lazatin said this should not pose difficulty to other senators as the plebiscite will also propose the creation of 100 more seats in the assembly, so that other senators could run for congress in anticipation of this.

    “Some senators are already supportive of the idea,” he also noted.

    Only recently, Malacanang expressed support for the proposal of Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile to increase the number of congresspersons from 250 to 350 allegedly to address the growing population of the country.

    Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said he agreed with Enrile’s reasoning  that the country needs more legislators “if we want full representation.”  

    Talk of the President’s running for congress in 2010 was fueled anew by her visit yesterday to the island Barangay Malusac yesterday afternoon to visit a farm to market road, amid another medical and dental mission for local folk.

    Since January, the President was noted to have visited barangays in this province no less than eight times, five of the visits covering the second district which includes here Lubao hometown where she is registered voter.

    Unlike in the past, her recent visits were also mostly accompanied with medical and dental services for the public, and announced for coverage by the local media.

    Lazatin said that in the case of the President, she would have to resign 60 days before the 2010 elections to be able to run for congresswoman in Pampanga’s second district.

    There have been rumors that her son, Mikey Arroyo, who now represents this province’s second district in congress, would run for governor.

    “In such a case, Vice Pres. Noli de Castro will be acting president until election time,” Lazatin said.

    He stressed, however, that if the people reject the proposed new charter in the plebiscite, the winners for president and other posts in the 2010 polls would serve their terms under the present Constitution.

    Last week during the induction rites of the Pampanga Press Club, De Castro denied he had previous information about the President’s plan to run for Congress in 2010. But he added “there is nothing wrong with that”.

    Lazatin said he supports the move to shift to a parliamentary system of government where the prime minister and members of the cabinet are accountable to the whole parliament.

    “The prime minister can be removed if the members of parliament are dissatisfied with his or her performance,” he said, adding that “people would be supportive of this change once they understand everything”.


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