“For the longest time, Con-Ass or Cha-cha is a Congressional initiative, not ours!!!” – Palace

June 8, 2009 11:31 am 

MANILA, June 8 – “For the longest time, Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass) or Charter Change (Cha-Cha) is not ours. It is a Congressional initiative,” says Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo on Monday’s press briefing at Malacañang’s New Exectutive Building (NEB).

Fajardo said with all smiles when asked by the PNA about updates on what President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Malacañang officials are doing about political maneuvers by the House of Representatives on the Con-Ass issue.

”The President as well as her Cabinet assures everyone that the Chief Executive will surely have no extension of terms. As for the Con-Ass protest rallies or pro-Cha-Cha rallies, we respect everyone’s rights to express themselves. We are asking for sobriety on whatever they are planning to do,” Fajardo said.

For his part, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde thrashed allegations that there will be a “martial law scenario" if there will be disorder in the Anti-Charter Change rallies.

”That is part of the opposition’s black propaganda to demonize the Arroyo administration. They are creating their own ghosts. I hope they will not to the extent of sabotaging their own rallies so that it can again be blamed on us,” Remonde said in a short statement.

Meanwhile, reports reaching Malacañang said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is poised to discharge from service any officers and soldiers who join anti-Charter change protests in Makati City.

“We are going to monitor it. If anyone is caught joining this (rally), this could be grounds for their separation from the service,” Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in a report.

Brawner said the reminder is not a warning since all active soldiers should be following military rules and regulations while they are still in the service. He said soldiers who are on day off, leave or on furlough are disallowed from joining the demonstrations.

He said all military commanders are tasked to check on their men to ensure that no soldier will be joining the demonstrations by multi-sectoral groups, including some leaders of the Catholic church. ABS-CBN’s ANC.

He said that based on the accounts of the military commanders, all their men are still following the chain of command.

“We have a chain of command to follow and we believe that the chain of command is working perfectly at this time. We are assured by our soldiers that they will remain non-partisan or apolitical and that they will remain professional,” he said.

He also said that all troops are accounted for “and our commanders have given the leadership of the AFP their word that no one will join destabilization moves.”

He said these assurances were given to AFP chief Gen. Victor Ibrado during his rounds of different camps and units. NA)/V3/JCA/

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