(UPDATE 2) Arroyo to run for Congress
Lawyer: It's up to Kabalens to decide whether it's proper
MANILA - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will file her certificate of candidacy (CoC) as representative of the second district of Pampanga on Tuesday, Palace officials said.
Partial transcript and video of President Arroyo's announcement on Radyo ng Bayan
Mga kababayan, lubos na karangalan at pribilehiyo para sa akin ang maglingkod sa sa taumbayang Pilipino bilang pangulo. Gumawa ako ng malalaking pagtulong... sa ekonomiya, edukasyon, ugnayang pandaigdigan, at paglikha ng trabaho.
While I am very much looking forward to stepping down as president at the end of my term, I am mulling different ways to stay involved. Tiningnan ko ang pagbalik sa pagturo; I also studied working with nonprofit organizations on issues ranging from the environment to women's issues. After much contemplation I realized I am not ready to step down completely from public service.
Gaya ng alam nyo, hiniling din ako ng mga mamamayan sa aking tahanang distrito sa Pampanga na manatili sa buhay publiko. So after much soul-searching I have decided to respond affirmatively to their call. To that end, I will file my candidacy for Congress in order to serve the hardworking people of my home province.
This was confirmed by Press Secretary Cerge Remonde and Arroyo's election lawyer Atty. Romeo Macalintal in a press conference in Malacañang Monday afternoon.
Her CoC will be filed Tuesday in Pampanga through a proxy. Macalintal also said that the President will be in her hometown Lubao to attend a mass at 9 a.m. on the same day.
Before the official announcement, President Arroyo told Radyo ng Bayan Palace reporter Mari Peña Ruiz on Monday: "Yes Mari, I will file my certificate of candidacy".
Mrs. Arroyo's answer was in response to a question about the alleged clamor from her province mates for her to run for Congress as their representative.
Macalintal said that after giving it serious consideration, the president decided she wanted to continue to serve as an elective official.
Not a demotion
He said the post of member of the House of Representatives should not be seen as a demotion for the president since Congress is a co-equal branch of government.
He added that President Arroyo thought of teaching again after her term ends in June 2010, but eventually decided that serving the country as a legislator was the best way she could continue helping her constituents and the nation.
"She thought of teaching again, but after soul searching, she felt she could better serve the country if she serves as an elective official," Macalintal said. "She feels she can better serve if she is a congresswoman."
Asked about the propriety of running for another post after serving for 9 years as president, Macalintal said this was up to the people of Pampanga to decide.
He said there is no legal barrier for a president running for a post other than the presidency.
Nothing to lose
Macalintal said the president's move was not like other some senators who have nothing to lose since their terms will end in 2013.
Among the national candidates, Senators Manuel Villar, Loren Legarda, and Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino will remain as senators even if they lose in their election bids.
President Arroyo will not be personally filing her CoC. Macalintal said this was because people might think she's campaigning already if she files it herself.
Macalintal said he was told about the president's decision only on Monday, but he has had discussions with her already in response to the clamor of local officials of Pampanga's 2nd district that she run.
He disagreed with former President Joseph Estrada's view that her decision to run for Congress was an insult to the institution of the Office of the President.
Macalintal said it was Estrada who should reassess whether he is qualified to run for president considering that he was found guilty of a crime and faces a legal battle on his second presidential run.
He said he believes the First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo supports his wife's decision since it will be good for the country. With a report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News