Monday, December 11, 2006

Novaliches Bishop Calls On Military To Defend, Protect Charter

The House of Representatives’ scrapping of Arroyo-DE Venecia fraudulent Constituent Assembly to revise the 1987 Philippine Constitution is considered as a “ceremonial act of surrender” since it’s already rejected by majority of the Filipino people. The House resolution no. 1450 is piece of SCRAP paper and its sub-product SHIT. It’s done hastily, undemocratic, unlawful and unconstitutional. The perfect political storm is growing stronger by the day until the ouster of corrupt and abusive Gloria Arroyo regime. Military intervention is the right thing to do at this point in time. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a constitutional mandate as the protector of the people and the State. Gloria Arroyo is a total failure. It’s about time for a change.

Day of reckoning

Tobias urges duty-bound soldiers to support mass actions

Bishop calls on military to defend, protect Charter

By Marie A. Surbano

Daily Tribune 12/12/2006

A bishop started the political-moral ball rolling as he flung the first challenge to the Philippine soldiery to defend the Constitution that he said is today under attack by the Arroyo government.

Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, an outspoken senior bishop-critic of President Arroyo and her administration, yesterday openly called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to perform its bounden duty to defend the Constitution and protect the Filipino people from the machinations of Mrs. Arroyo and her allies in the House of Representatives in their multiple immoral plots to amend the Charter and thereby ensure that their selfish vested interests would be protected.

“The soldiers, the Armed Forces, are sworn to protect the people and to defend the Constitution,” the bishop said, justifying his call as legal and constitutional, stressing that “Today, the Constitution is being ravaged in the interest of private individuals. We should be dependent on this (constitutional duty of the AFP to correct this wrong) and I ask them (military) to help the people,” the Novaliches bishop told reporters during a press briefing yesterday

after the Mass held at the St. Peter’s Parish in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

Tobias, a known critic of the Arroyo government, pointed out that the soldiers are constitutionally sworn to protect the Charter and therefore, as it is now under attack, they should now show that support to the mass actions being organized by no less than the majority of the Filipinos who oppose Charter change (Cha-cha).

It is the same constitutional proviso that then Vice President Arroyo and her elite group that grabbed power from then sitting President Joseph Estrada in January 2001, used to justify the military withdrawal of support by then AFP chief of staff ( Ret.) Gen. Angelo Reyes and his service commanders, which the Supreme Court, then headed by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., did not rule as unconstitutional, in legitimizing the Arroyo coup d’etat.

“I expect the soldiers to at least express support to the mass actions taking place now,” he said stressing that he is not urging them to be divided but to be united in defending the 19- year old Charter which congressional allies of the President want to dispose of, while ushering a new one that would effect a shift from the presidential system with a bicameral Congress to the parliamentary system with a unicameral congress through the railroading of the Constituent Assembly (Con-ass), as displayed by the House majority last week.

The bishop also voiced his disappointment with the manner by which the administration lawmakers are now pushing the Constitutional Convention (Con-con) which the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had earlier declared to be the preferred mode of Charter change.

“I couldn’t believe that our congressmen would stoop to that level. I regard them highly because before I had relatives who were in Congress and they are really good persons,” Tobias said.

Tobias was also pointed to by a former Oakwood Mutiny core leader as having given the then rebel officer, Lt. Lawrence San Juan, who has since sworn allegiance to Mrs. Arroyo, safe haven by hiding him in several safehouses of the bishop.

Despite the sworn affidavit of San Juan pointing to Tobias as the bishop who had given him refuge, intimating that the bishop was part of the alleged coup d’etat then being allegedly planned by the rebel soldiers, the Department of Justice, however, never included him in the list of persons being charged for rebellion and coup d’etat.

The Novaliches bishop is convinced that the shift from Con-ass to Con-con is yet another ploy of the Arroyo government, and he appealed to the public to be more vigilant.

“Vigilance. This is what I am asking our people,” he stressed.

Tobias also rejects the claim that the President has nothing to do with the shift from the Con-ass to the Con-con, saying: “Let’s put it this way, this is one means to shelter President Arroyo from the things that are happening. But it is she who started all this (Cha-cha moves), the reason we are divided and the reason there is infighting”.

Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, spokesman for the CBCP meantime said the slated Dec. 15 prayer rally to be led by bishops has been moved to Dec. 17 with the participation of other religious leaders and groups.

“Someone has been placed in charge of contacting the others to inform them of the change of schedule. It will be an ecumenical prayer rally,” Quitorio said, adding that the venue would still be held in Luneta at 7pm.

Quitorio also said the CBCP has not bothered to check with the Manila authorities if if Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) had already booked two months ago the venue where the CBCP had intended to hold the prayer march.

In Baguio City, a priest said the rally there will have at least 100,000 people joining, to express their indignation over the manner Cha-cha is being forced upon the people by Mrs. Arroyo and her allies.

Also in his homily, Tobias asked the public to unite in rejecting any plans to amend the Charter through Con-ass or the new strategy of the Arroyo allies.

“We should be one voice in saying tama na yan! (Enough is enough!),” the prelate said noting that the people should not be afraid to join mass actions since this would be for the betterment of the country.

“Let us not be afraid to join this massive mass action. Adventurism is done too for changing the Charter,” he declared.

For the United Opposition (UNO), it is calling for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo and her allies in the House or the alternative, snap elections.

Uno, in a press statement quoting its president, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, said:”First, the postponement of the Asean summit in Cebu. Then, the backing off by the House from its Con-ass plan. These two hasty retreats, coming as they did in quick succession, is a clear indication that GMA and her administration allies realize that they no longer enjoy any kind of mandate or support from the majority of the Filipino people.

“These should be more than enough reason now for the President and the majority congressmen to resign their positions. However, should they ignore this, as it is to be expected, Binay said a snap election for President can be held to coincide with the May 2007 polls. In that manner, it should not entail any considerable additional expense,” he said.

Binay also said that the House has not really officially and formally canceled Con-ass. He also cited the turnaround of some members of the House majority in the Con-ass issue as another indication of the lack of popular support for it.

“The House leadership can deny this all they want, or give all sorts of explanations for it, but the fact remains that the House majority has developed major cracks within its ranks and is about ready to disintegrate,” Binay said.

Protest movements previously planned will still go on. A rally will push through as scheduled today at the Batasan, to be participated in by several multi-sectoral people’s organizations. The CBCP-led inter-faith assembly, Binay announced.

House Deputy Minority leader and partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) urged the public to maintain war footing as long as Speaker Jose de Venecia and his allies refuse to drop the adopted house resolution that calls for the convening of the Con-ass to pave the way for Cha-cha.

Ocampo and other members of the opposition including some members of the Liberal Party urged the Speaker and the majority to finally drop House Resolution 197 which the majority adopted Thursday morning last week.

“The imperative now is for Speaker Jose de Venecia and other surrogates of President Arroyo to formally withdraw House Resolution 197 immediately and without any preconditions,” said Ocampo.

The minorioty bloc also sought the restoration of the deletion of the House rule which was railroaded by the majority.

The House with a vote of 161-25, amended Section 105 of the House rules, which provide for the swift deliberations of the measure without going through the normal process of committee hearings and plenary approvals.

The Speaker Saturday said the House majority is deferring Con-ass following continued calls from various sectors including the Catholic Church and the El Shaddai not to push Cha-cha via Con-ass while giving the Senate 72 hours from yesterday to call for a Con-con election.

House minority leader Francis Escudero, during a press conference, said the opposition and the LP identified with Senator Franklin Drilon would not heed the deadline set by the Speaker for the House and the Senate to agree on a resolution calling for a ConCon.

Oher opposition members said a mere announcement of the Speaker that they are deferring Con-ass was a ploy, and for them to show their sincerity, they should now withdraw the resolution.

Escudero said to be able to withdraw the resolution and restore the amendment in the rules, the move should be initiated by the 161 members of the majority that approved the two resolutions.
With Dona Policar
ConAss fallout widens as junior officers warn Arroyo regime

DOJ warns govt staff to keep out of protests

Arroyo allies retreat

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