by Jherlyn Meneses/Asianjournal.com
PRES. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she would not step down from the presidency as she shielded her family from allegations of irregularity. Arroyo issued the statement in a speech after a mass at Malacanang’s Heroes Hall on the eve of the 22nd anniversary celebration of the Edsa People Power 1 revolution.
“I am the President. I decide on all issues in government and not those who are not in authority. My family has never been transacting business in the government. I will follow the Constitution and my own wishes to stay in power until the end of my term.” she declared in a well applauded speech that ended in a standing ovation.
No Cabinet member was present during the mass. Only Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. was seated beside her while her children — except for daughter Evangelina Lourdes — and grandchildren were on the other side of the aisle. First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo was in Hong Kong for an acupuncture treatment.
The Palace mass was celebrated by Bishop Raul Martires of the Green Meadows Parish and con-celebrated by the following priests: Fr. Moises Cabrera of Sta. Perpetua Parish (Cubao), Fr. Renato Gella of St. Joseph the Worker Parish (Balintawak), and Fr. Jimmy Geron of San Jose Tagapagtanggol Parish, all in Quezon City.
She assured that “without a doubt” she would step down in 2010.
“I am deeply committed to being a force for good. I love our countrymen. I will forever be humble at having had the privilege of serving the nation,” she added.
She warned Filipinos that the world “will not forgive an Edsa 3” uprising this year.
“The world would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable. Under these circumstances, who would invest in the Philippines? How do you weather the difficulties arising from the spikes in the price of crude oil in the world market and the global economic slowdown?”
Arroyo defended her record and vowed to address the scandal. “We all know I am not perfect, but I have worked hard everyday to achieve positive and lasting change for the nation.”
“I am assuring the people that if there will be individuals proven to be guilty, they will be punished. I am resolved to fight anomalies. People are angry at corruption. I am too.” she added.
President Arroyo said the ordinary Filipino wants political stability, a bright economic future, and social justice. She said she will champion the fight for the three Es — economy, environment, and education — to lift the country up and get it ready for the next generation of leaders.
“Beyond policies and programs, our people want leaders who are God-fearing, pro-poor, unafraid to make tough choices, hard working and loyal to the people of the nation. These are the values I live by. These are the values I expect to be judged when we meet our Maker,” she said.
She said she has a deep faith in God, and the government must also have the same commitment in pursuing social justice and answering people’s needs.