Palace says Romulo just expressing debt of gratitude

September 23, 2009 12:31 pm 

MANILA, Sept. 23 — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo was merely exercising his right as a private citizen when he expressed his support for Sen. Benigno Aquino III in the May 2010 presidential election.

In a media briefing this morning, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said his colleague in the Cabinet had a long association with the late President Corazon Aquino. It is thus understandable that he should feel a debt of gratitude (utang na loob), and that sentiment finds concrete form in his endorsement of her son’s candidacy.

“I guess it’s just Filipino values [at play],” Ermita said. “His preference is something personal to him. In any case, he hasn’t said anything about campaigning for his preferred candidate.

Ermita showed the media a copy of the public statement sent to him and to media by Romulo from Saudi Arabia, where the latter is part of the official delegation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, clarifying his position on the matter.

Earlier, Romulo was quoted as saying that he is voting for Aquino in the May 2010 presidential election.

In his statement, the Foreign Secretary makes it clear that his earlier comments on the candidacy of Aquino do not “in any way diminish my service and support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

“Neither does it mean that I am moving to the opposition,” he further says. “I am standing by the president until the end of her term and beyond.”

“I will continue to discharge my duties with utmost integrity, professionalism and loyalty, which have been the hallmark of my long years of public service,” squelching suggestions that he resign from the Cabinet. (PNA) DCT/OPS/utb

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