On Saturday (14/1/2006), former president Fidel Ramos and other leaders of the Lakas (Strength) party endorsed President Arroyo’s plans to change the constitution and to remain in power until 2010.
This decision means that Ramos has taken an about-turn on his previous call for Arroyo to quit in 2007.
An article in the Manila Standard (16/1/2006) reported that the Lakas (Strength) party issued a statement that upheld six of Philippines House of Representative Speaker Jose De Venecia's seven proposals, which included
- the move to a parliamentary form of government;
- the establishment of a unicameral legislature;
- providing for a five-year term of office for all elective officials;
- a ban on political turncoatism;
- the creation of autonomous regions toward the establishment of a federal system;
- easing of restrictions on foreign investments in the economy.
This internal agreement, while significant, does not mean that the days ahead will be smooth sailing for Arroyo or for the Lakas Party. They would still have to secure the approval of the Congress and Senate. Some independent polls have also shown that more than two-thirds of Filipinos oppose moves to tweak the constitution.
While the support of Ramos, no matter how reluctant, will add much-needed stability to Arroyo’s administration, her support base is still weak with dubious loyalties. What Arroyo has won is more time. How much longer is uncertain but what is certain is that there will be more drama in the years ahead for Philippinespolitics.
“Ruling Party Backs Arroyo’s plan to change charter and stay in Power”, The Straits Times (16/1/2006)
“Lakas turns down Ramos ultimatum”, The Manila Times (16/1/2006)
“FVR Backtracks before leaving”, Manila Standard (16/1/2006)
“Ruling party backs Arroyo's plan to rewrite constitution”, Japan Economic Newswire (15/1/2006)
“GMA will not cut term in 07”, Philippine Daily Inquirer (15/1/2006)
“Lakas Stalwarts Okay Resolution on Charter Change”, BusinessWorld (16/1/2006)
“Is Ramos Setting Arroyo Up for a Fall?; Former Leader may be Just Bidding his Time to Force out Beleaguered President”, South China Morning Post (16/1/2006)