Ex-DND Sec. Cruz slammed

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — Speaker Prospero Nograles and administration solons yesterday ganged up on former Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz for saying that allies of President Macapagal-Arroyo are behind plans to extend her term beyond 2010.

Nograles said a “no elections” scenario in 2010 will not happen and that there are no efforts to subvert the Constitution through the House of Representatives.

“He is not making a correct factual assessment. He is seeing things that are not there,” Nograles said.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino said a “no-el” scenario is illegal and even if it happened, it would not be Mrs. Arroyo who will be sitting as acting president.

“With a No-El scenario, our succession provision in our Constitution says that the Chief Justice of Supreme Court would be acting president,” Antonino said.

Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra said that while he looks up to and respects Cruz, he strongly disagrees with him on his latest statement.

“I strongly disagree because the President is now looking at leaving a lasting legacy. He should substantiate his allegations and come up with concrete evidence supporting his claim. President Arroyo would not want to ruin the gains she already achieved for the nation,” Mitra said.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante said Cruz may be stoking military unrest.

“Being a non-politician, his words will carry some weight. Yet I doubt very highly the claim that he has made. His words can fuel some unrest especially in the AFP, which he does want to happen,” Abante said.

Representatives Antonio Cuenco and Danilo Suarez said Cruz’s allegation “is a product of his imagination.”

“The President has declared she will step down and that there will be elections next year. If her detractors refuse to believe that, that’s their problem,” Cuenco said.

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said Cruz was “hallucinating” when he called on the military to defy unlawful orders from the Palace.

“There is no illegal order he can cite. That could be hallucination or wishful thinking,” Puno said. “I think his experience in the Defense department made him prone to nightmares.”