Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Arroyo team all set for transition

by Joyce Pañares
Manila Standard

President Gloria Arroyo is moving heaven and earth to ensure success of the first automated elections and the smooth turnover of power to her successor, which constitute her “final major acts of governance” before she steps down on June 30.

Mrs. Arroyo renewed her commitment to an orderly transition after a meeting with leaders from the religious, business and labor sectors who all brushed aside scenarios of civil unrest amid alleged plans to sabotage the national elections.

Among those who attended the expanded National Security Council-Cabinet cluster meeting are Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena representing Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Bishop Nereo Odchimar; El Shaddai founder Mariano “Bro. Mike” Velarde; Bishop Epharim Tendero, president of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches; Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Vidal; Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman emeritus Miguel Varela; and Democrito Mendoza of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

“The participants manifested their trust in the commitment of the Armed Forces and the National Police to abide by the Constitution and safeguard our democratic processes, “ presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo said.

Deputy Palace spokesman Gary Olivar, for his part, said the President has committed to “put all of the resources of this administration behind a successful transition of power and preserving the stability and continuity of our republican institutions and processes.”

“Hopefully, it will be the standard bearer of Lakas-Kampi CMD (Gilberto Teodoro Jr.) who will prevail but as president of the republic, Mrs. Arroyo is prepared to welcome whoever wins and ensure a smooth transition,” Olivar said.

“Once the electoral noise settles, we should unite behind whoever is chosen by the majority, and give him our full and whole-hearted support,” the Palace official added.

President Arroyo, who is attending an early mass in Lubao today before casting her vote in her hometown where she is running for a congressional seat in the second district, has repeatedly said that ensuring a smooth transition of power is her most important legacy.

“There is no more important legacy than to leave the nation with a free and fair elections and a smooth transition to a new government. Our people deserve to have confidence that their vote counts and that our democracy works,” President Arroyo said.

“Let us do everything to make sure the new president and his team hit the ground running when they assume office,” Mrs. Arroyo added.

Mrs. Arroyo has already formed a transition committee, headed by Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, that will usher in the assumption to power of the new president and his official family.

Presidential Management Staff director general Elena Bautista has been designated as vice-chairman while National Economic Development Authority director general Augusto Santos, Budget chief Joaquin Lagonera, and Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr. were appointed as members of the transition committee.

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