Puno: What ‘no-el’ are you talking about?

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — In a radio interview before flying to the United States for his regular medical checkup, Puno, among the closest advisers of Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo and who is also privy to some of her political plans, said the public should not be swayed by the political noise being drummed up by the opposition and some quarters that the “No-El” scenario would succeed because of the passage of House Resolution 1109 and the current squabbling of the partners who won the poll automation project next year.

Based on HR 1109, the Lower Chamber would constitute itself into a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) and pass amendments without the participation of the Senate.

Puno, the leading contender for the vice presidential post, added that personally, he is also opposed to Charter change at this time, further saying that it would be best for the country that this step be done after the 2010 elections.

With his assurance and untarnished credibility within and outside the administration, political pundits believed that it would help put to rest the “distracting noise” being generated by some quarters who are raising the bogey of no elections to push their own political agenda.

Known for his administrative skills and high standing withing the official family of Pres. Arroyo, Puno is also a stalwart of the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the official party of the administration and the biggest political coalition in the country today.

In the same interview, Puno refused to dignify speculations that Mrs. Arroyo would run as representative of the second district of Pampanga in place of her son, Cong. Mikey Arroyo.

“I am in regular discussion with Pres. Arroyo and not once did I hear her mention anything about it (running for Congress) so it’s really hard to comment on something that is purely hearsay.”

He also noted that the “plan” for the Chief Executive to aspire to a lower position never came directly from her.

“And even the guy who allegedly made the claim even corrected and clarified himself so there is really nothing to it.”

The DILG chief also said the public should not give political color to Mrs. Arroyo’s frequent trips to her province of Pampanga.

As far as Puno is concerned, these trips have proven to be beneficial to her “Kabalens” who have been benefiting from these visits in terms of projects.

Puno cited as an example the town of Guagua where his beloved mother came from, noting that the town benefited from the water system ordered completed by Pres. Arroyo.

“To the people of Guagua for example, the presidential visits are not electioneering; they are benefiting from these visits,” Puno said.