So long as Arroyo is there, doubts will persist – Bayan

News Release
March 22, 2010

This was the view of the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan amid assurances from Malacanang that president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will step down on June 30.

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The militant group also belied claims that on election day, there will be no election failure and that the worst case scenario would be the having manual polls in 30% of the country.

“The president’s spokesmen cannot assuage the fears of failed elections and an Arroyo holdover because all the signs point to Arroyo wanting to stay in power beyond 2010. Short of having the president resign before May 10, these fears cannot be erased,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“So long as Arroyo is there, the doubts will persist. Only her early exit from the Palace can dispel all these fears,” he added.

Bayan said that a lot of things can happen between May 10 and May 17, the date when current Chief Justice Reynato Puno resigns.

The scenarios of failure include the inability to hold elections in certain parts of the country because of technical problems or escalating violence and disorder. A massive breakdown of machines, whether at the polling place or at the canvassing levels cannot be discounted.

“If the failure of the May 10 elections is followed by Mrs. Arroyo’s appointment of a new Chief Justice on May 17, then that would increase public doubt over the president’s intent to leave office by June 30,” Reyes said.

Bayan said various groups are in the process of coming up with a strong “civilian counterforce” against any possible military takeover that will install Arroyo as holdover president. Anti-Arroyo groups are actively discussing the prospects of election failure.

“The regime is a master of deception . We should not be lulled into complacency. The people have to be ready to mobilize to thwart efforts to prolong Mrs. Arroyo’s stay in power,” Reyes said.

The militant group said that a failure of elections remains Arroyo’s “Plan A” while getting elected into a Congress packed with Arroyo supporters could be “Plan B”.

“Either way, the agenda is for her to stay in power and retain political leverage against her opponents,” Reyes said.

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