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No parallel between Arroyo and Shinawatra

Updated On: Apr 07, 2006

The resignation of Thailand’s Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra has sparked calls from the Philippine’s opposition groups for President Arroyo to quit.

Presidential adviser for political affairs Gabriel Claudio claims that the situations in the two countries are different and the President will not follow the “lead of her Thai counterpart. “Developments in Thailand are unique and peculiar to itself…the Philippines is a different story and situation altogether. The prospects of national stability, harmony and economic progress with the continuing leadership of President Arroyo are vivid and real for Filipinos to look forward to,” he said.

The political turmoil in the Philippines and Thailand has raised concerns about the future of two of Asia’s most vibrant democracies. Mrs Arroyo was also accused of corruption and rigging of the 2004 presidential elections. She survived three impeachment bids last September when her allies in the House blocked a potentially disastrous investigation. She also declared a state of emergency to quell an alleged coup plot in Feb.

Despite recent public opinion surveys that revealed Filipinos desire for Arroyo to be removed from office, Mr Claudio defended that “Filipinos are tired of political bickering and confrontation that is why despite relentless agitation by the opposition, there is no upheaval against the president or government.”

Many opponents of Mrs Arroyo believed otherwise and are united in calling for her resignation. “While Thaksin showed he has a heart, Arroyo will cling to power at all costs, even if our institutions, the congress, judiciary, executive get destroyed in the process,” said left-wing representative Teodoro Casino.

“What is different is that in Thailand the military and the police have talked out Thaksin from taking a hard line against anti-government militants and to voluntarily step down. Here in the Philippines, the military and the police inspired and strengthened President Arroyo to take a hard line against anti-Arroyo militants in order for her to stay in power,” said Maj. Gen. Fortunato is an opinion to INQ7.

Former president Joseph Estrada joined in the call for her resignation. “If you’re not loved and trusted, it’s hard for you to govern,” he said.

The administration has expected the opposition to draw a parallel between Arroyo and Shinawatra but stood firm in their support for the President. “Arroyo has every intention of fulfilling her mandate until 2010 and she would not turn her back on this mandate or the people who voted for her in the last election,” said Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.

Sources:

Arroyo won’t follow Thai premier’s example (Sun Star 6 April)

Palace: Filipinos feel situation here much brighter (INQ7 Net, 6 April)

Thaksin’s resignation sets off new calls for Arroyo to quit (INQ7 Net, 5 April)

Tale of two ASEAN leaders (INQ7 Net, 5 April)

RP is on a roll, says Arroyo (The Nation, 5 April)

Embattled Arroyo won’t do a Thaksin (Bangkok Post, 5 April)

Senators move to stop Cha-cha train (The Manila Times, 6 April)