PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — PRO-ADMINISTRATION lawmakers yesterday assured Filipinos that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will definitely step down when her term ends on June 30, 2010, debunking claims of her critics that Malacañang is devising plans to extend her stay in power.
House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Simeon Datumanong said it was no less than United States President Barack Obama to whom President Arroyo reiterated her plan to quit in 2010 when the Philippines holds a national election during her recent visit to Washington, D.C.
Datumanong said the President has repeatedly told the public that she will bow out on June 30 next year, reiterating it to President Obama during their meeting at the White House.
Before the meeting between the two presidents, Datumanong said Mrs. Arroyo already announced in her State-of-the- Nation Address in July that “her term end in 2010.”
“There’s nothing new in what the President said during the meeting. What she told President Obama on her stepping down when her term ends, she already told the Filipino people,” the lawmaker said, denying insinuations that Malacañang deliberately held the particular information from the public.
Malabon-Navotas Rep. Alvin Sandoval claimed that the Palace wanted to tell the public about “the issue” but it was overtaken by the criticisms on the “purported lavish dinners” the President and her party had in the U.S.
“It is very unfortunate considering that President Arroyo’s visit to the U.S. was very fruitful,” according to Sandoval, one of the 28 congressmen who accompanied the President to the U.S. trip.
Sandoval said critics of Malacañang should instead help the President finish what she has begun especially that her term is nearing its end.