Heed GMA ‘ceasefire’ — Romualdez

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — IN the light of worldwide financial crisis, the new call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a political ceasefire as Christmas season approaches is timely and should be given due consideration, a congressman said yesterday.

Leyte Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said President Arroyo’s call should be regarded as a step towards reconciliation while the world is being hounded by serious threats of economic instability.

“The President’s call is highly timely, let’s start reconciliation by ending destructive political bickering that we do not need now at this sorry state of worldwide economy,” Romualdez said in an interview.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez vowed to oppose “vicious attacks” but stressed that there should be no ceasefire on important and pressing issues.

“For the legitimate political exchanges on vital national issues like graft and corruption, crimes, incompetence, arrogance and relevant congressional hearings, there should be no ceasefire while Congress is in session,” said Golez, spokesman of the opposition bloc at the House of Representatives.

In her appeal, President Arroyo called on to set aside political differences and instead work together on positive things that would bring developments to the lives of the people.

Romualdez, a stalwart of President Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), expressed optimism that the Chief Executive’s critics would give her call a chance in the name of greater national interest.

“I am still optimistic that supporters and opponents of this administration would unite for one common cause, which is to foster unity, particularly during Christmas season and fight the slowdown brought by global economic woes,” he added.

Romualdez explained that poor people are the ones taking the serious blow of continued political bickering by national leaders.

“The objective is to protect the poor people who are usually taking the brunt whenever political tension arises,” the Leyte lawmaker said, adding it is the duty of every Filipino to move the nation to progress despite the very challenging times nowadays.

The President’s call to a end destructive politics came few days before Congress resumes session on Monday where the divisive impeachment complaint against President Arroyo is scheduled to be tacked by the House committee on justice.

At the same time, another controversy will be highlighted as the Senate will reopen its investigation into the alleged P728-million fertilizer fund scam following the return to the country of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante.

Despite the appeal for political ceasefire, President Arroyo reiterated her directive for government troops to ensure the defeat of the communist insurgency before the end of her term in 2010.