Monday, January 16, 2006

Senate is Cha-cha battleground, senator fumes at troika show

By TJ Burgonio, Inquirer

IT IS THE SENATE THAT WILL BE the battleground of the efforts to amend the Constitution and talk among the Lakas "triumvirate" about how the Charter will be changed is pure inanity, Sen. Joker Arroyo said yesterday.

"The 'initiative' to amend or revise the Constitution rests exclusively with Congress, absent an initiative law. The executive branch has no say in it. But the GMA-FVR-JDV troika acts as if it is the Senate," Arroyo said in an interview.

Arroyo was referring to President Macapagal-Arroyo, former President Fidel V. Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia, who had met to try to iron out their differences over the proposed shift to a parliamentary government.

Arroyo said the trio had been regaled the public with "their inanities" on how to amend the 1987 Constitution, "as if they have a say or influence on the Senate, where the Cha-cha battle ground would be."

Jealous lot

Arroyo claimed that the Lakas trio's influence on senators, whether individually or collectively, was "nil."

"In a crunch, GMA perhaps would at most have four senators on her side, FVR at most two, JDV zero. How can they make arrangements, when most of the senators can't be influenced by them on the matter, especially since it centers on how they can remain in power? Senators are a jealous lot," Arroyo added.

Arroyo also noted that most of those favoring Charter change were Lakas stalwarts while Ms Arroyo "is the only outsider."Will outfox them all" Yet, she will outfox and outlast them all," he predicted.

Independent Sen. Richard Gordon also said a mouthful.

"I'm chagrined by what's happening. Just like Marcos, they're trying to dictate their will upon us. How dare they?" Gordon said in a phone interview.

"The President and Ramos are trying to transact with each other to get their interests forward. If FVR wants Gloria out, he should have her impeached. They should not compromise the fundamental law of the land. We still have 2007."

"This is a vaudeville show being presented before us. This is just PR work."

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