MANILA (June 12) — To allay speculations of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo continuing to stay in office after her term expires in June 2010, her spokesman said the president will step down at the expiration of her terms.
In the wake of protest over efforts to amend the Constitution, which critics said was meant to prolong her stay in power, Undersecretary Gary Oliver, deputy presidential spokesperson for economic affairs, told reports in Malacanang, “she’s stepping down in 2010. There’s no reason to expect otherwise.”
On Wednesday, June 10, thousands of protesters marched on Ayala Avenue in the Makati City’s financial district to denounced House Resolution 1109, which calls on lawmakers to convene into a constituent assembly.
If Charter change success in shifting the country’s form of government from presidential to parliamentary, there is a speculation Arroyo could become prime minister. The president visits to Pampanga, her home province, sparked such speculation.
Meanwhile, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, almost one out of every two Filipinos believe that Arroyo is not sincere in her plans to step down from the persidency in 2010.
According to the survey, 43 percent of respondents disagreed with the survey’s statement “President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sincerely intends to step down in 2010.” Only 31 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, while 26 percent were undecided.
Compared to its previous survey, SWS said the latest results were more skeptical. Previously, only 39 percent of the voting-age Filipino respondents disagreed with the same test statement. Thirty-three perent of respondents agreed, while 27 percent were undecided.
In Mindanao, those that disagreed with Arroyo’s sincerity rose by 11 points to 41 percent from 30 percent. This also increased to 37 percent from 32 percent in the Visayas region.
In Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, there were no noticeable changes in the President’s trust levels recording 52 percent (from 51 percent) and 44 percent (from 43 percent), respectively.
Respondents from high-income levels (class ABC) showed more confidence in Arroyo’s intention to step down in 2010, with only 40 percent disagreeing with the test sttement from 53 percent in the previous survey.
With the Class D which comprise the masses, the survey showed that they doubted the President’s plans in 2010 at 43 percent from 38 percent, while disagreement from Class E respondents frose to 41 percent from 38 percent.
According to SWS, the survey has a margin or error of plaus or minus 3 percent. It also said the survey’s measuring the sincerity of Arroyou to step down in 2010 was not commissioned but was on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service.