GMA to Thwart Power Grab; PNP Reaffirms Support for the Chief Executive

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Senate hearings criticized as destabilizing

President Arroyo yesterday vowed to crush fresh attempts at a power grab as she bewailed the revival of the impeachment battle against her in the Senate in the guise of legislative hearings.

The President justified her directive banning government executives from attending congressional inquiries without her consent, saying these hearings are part of a conspiracy to destabilize her government.

"I ask for your support as I put my foot down for the sake of people, for the sake of enabling the government to work rather than be disabled by the politics of insult that are done in these inquiries in aid of destabilization," she said during an assembly of families of Filipino war veterans in Malacanang.

The President described the congressional probes as "kangaroo courts" where "speculation, hearsay and half truth" are shown as proven facts.

She claimed the aim of these hearings is to sow "confusion leading to a situation where it is easy to have a power grab."

Mrs. Arroyo also said the hearings are part of a continued effort to undermine her government.

"They didn't succeed in the impeachment, they did not succeed in the streets ... now they are bringing their battleground to the Senate," she said.

The Senate recently began inquiries into the rescinded government contract with the US lobby firm Venable LLP, alleged election cheating, and the multi-million-dollar North Rail project involving China.

The President said she wanted the truth to come out but only in the proper forum "where the rule of law is observed, where the rules of evidence are observed, where those accused have the right to present their own defense in accordance with time- tested regulations."

Arroyo lamented the continued division of the Philippines ­ one poised for economic take off and the other a "poisoned political system."

But she declared she would fight those who seek to grab power. "We will now allow this. We will not waste the sacrifices of your relatives," she told the audience composed of veterans' kin.

She also asked the public to rally behind her government against the advocates of destabilization.

"I ask you to stand and be counted as guardians of the law and stability in a democratic society that works for the people rather than impedes their prosperity," she said.

Last Wednesday, President Arroyo angered members of the two houses of Congress when she issued Executive Order 464 prohibiting Cabinet members and the military from appearing before legislative inquiries without her consent.

Her directive came after two Marine officers defied a verbal order and testified at a Senate inquiry into alleged cheating in the last elections.

The EO 464 invoked the principle of separation of powers and the need to keep confidentiality on national security matters.

Lomibao assures PNP supports President; will obey EO 464


Director General Arturo C. Lomibao, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), yesterday assured that the 115,000-strong police organization fully supports the administration of President Arroyo despite efforts of some individuals "who are motivated by their ill-desire to throw the country of balance."

In a signed statement he presented to Mrs. Arroyo when she attended a command conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City, Lomibao said the PNP is undisturbed by recent political developments.

President Arroyo was at the PNP National Headquarters to express her appreciation to police authorities for strictly and effectively implementing the "calibrated pre-emptive response" polciy against rallyists who conduct mass actions without permits from local government units.

Lomibao said the PNP supports President Arroyo as a duly constituted authority. …