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article imagePhilippine President May Run for Lower Elective Post Next Year

By Leo Reyes     Jun 16, 2009 in Politics
The president of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is floating the idea of running for a lower elective position when she steps down from the presidency in 2010. Many believe that she needs the position to keep her immunity from suits.
The president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may run for an elective post probably as member of the House of Representatives in next year’s national elections.
This possibility surfaced when the unpopular president visited her hometown for the 17th time a few days ago. In one of her public pronouncements, she jokingly said that she might run for a congressional seat after she step down from the presidency.
The president has been accused by her political opponents as well as cause-oriented groups of rigging the last presidential elections which put her back in power for a full six year term. Arroyo was vice-president when the incumbent president Joseph Estrada was impeached for the crime of plunder. She assumed the presidency in 2001 by way of succession as provided for in the Philippine constitution.
In 2004 she was elected to a full 6-year term in a controversial election that fitted her against Estrada’s friend and movie actor Fernando Poe, Jr.
At the start of her six-year presidency, she was accused by his political opponents of massive vote buying and election fraud. Graft and corruption cases have been filed against her husband and her allies in government, effectively linking her to a number of sensational cases including a multi million dollar deal with a Chinese company for large railway and telecommunications projects.
Inquirer.net reports:
There is “no legal impediment” against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo running for a lower position in 2010, the spokesman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday.
But doing so could pose an ethical issue for Arroyo, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
“Is it okay for the President to run for a lower position? Absolutely, Why not? There’s no legal impediment to a president seeking any other position. She can run for municipal councilor if that is her pleasure, he said in a forum Tuesday.
Critics of the president including her political opponents are saying that the real reason why the president is seeking an elective position after she steps down from the presidency, is for her to retain her immunity from suit that may be filed against her for the allege crimes that she participated in during her presidency.
The President’s allies in the House are also pushing for the convening of a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution, which could pave the way for her to become prime minister if Charter change shifts the country’s form of government to a federal-parliamentary system, the report added.
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