by Jherlyn Meneses/Asianjournal.com
SENATORS and militant groups urged President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Thursday to resign after Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr.’s testimony on the anomaly-tainted ZTE broadband deal.
Members of the militant Anakpawis party went to the streets in key cities in Metro Manila to revive the call for Pres. Arroyo’s resignation. Carrying placards that flashed “Gloria, RAT – Resign, Alis, Talsik!,” demonstrators said that the Year of the Rat might be the year for Arroyo’s exit.
Anakpawis reiterated that Arroyo should step down from her post after former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and ZTE key witness Rodolfo Lozada testified that massive corruption and abuse of power were perpetrated by Arroyo’s close allies.
“We’ve had enough of Arroyo’s arrogant, illegitimate and corrupt leadership. Her seven-year reign has worsened the economic and political situation in the country,” Anakpawis asserted.
Anakpawis lauded Lozada’s revelation about the overpriced $329 ZTE deal that further implicated former poll chief Benjamin Abalos and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.
“His role as a key witness in the anomalous ZTE deal is crucial in unearthing more corrupt practices of the Arroyo administration,” the group said.
Anakbayan group also made an “emergency protest action” in certain areas in Metro Manila to show support for Lozada and for truth and accountability to the shelved National Broadband Network (NBN) project.
Renato M. Reyes, Jr., secretary general of Bayan, said that Malacañang and the Philippine National Police conspired to abduct Lozada and silence him by making him sign manufactured documents. “This is another low point for an already discredited administration,” said Reyes.
Militants staged a “Black Friday” protest-caravan and denounced what they described as “gross corruption and abuse of power” under the Arroyo administration. They rallied at the Senate to support Lozada’s statements on the ZTE deal.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Arroyo has lost all her moral ascendancy to stay in Malacañang and that it is time to call for snap elections.
“If there’s any moral fiber left in her, she should resign now and allow the Filipino people to express their choice via a fresh mandate,” Lacson said. “A snap election may very well prevent a destabilization effort and worse, an unconstitutional take-over by some interest groups,” he added.
Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Alan Peter Cayetano said Lozada gave several details, implicating members of Arroyo’s family in the $329.5-million broadband mess. While Cayetano did not elaborate, he said the information that Lozada gave was damaging enough to enrage people to take to the streets.
Malacañang executives, on the other hand, deflected calls for Arroyo’s resignation and for snap elections, saying that these came from politicians who want to bring her administration down.
Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that Cayetano and Lacson’s involvement in the issue only shows their real intent.
“They are not after truth and justice, and making laws. They simply cannot wait for the 2010 elections and they want to bring this administration down now,” Bunye said.
Lorelei Fajardo, Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman, said that Arroyo will continue focusing on her work as president despite Lacson and Cayetano’s call for her resignation. She said that the President is “used to” allegations linking government officials to this anomaly.