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‘Believe,’ Ermita on Arroyo 2010 term

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:06:00 11/19/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Take her word for it, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is stepping down at the end of her term in 2010, Malacañang said, dousing fresh talk of alleged plans to amend the Constitution to extend her stay in office.

“We just have to believe in the spoken words and statements of the President,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita told a news conference at the Palace on Wednesday.

“The President has said in many occasions that she’s stepping down by the end of her term in 2010… That’s where it stands right now. The issue is not being discussed,” he said.

On Tuesday, Arroyo was caught off guard when Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in his prayer at the start of a weekly Cabinet meeting for her to continue leading the country “even beyond 2010.”

Dureza later made light of his statement.

On Monday, Arroyo’s ally, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, took over the leadership in the Senate, after the incumbent Manuel Villar, was ousted.

Critics raised fears that an Enrile-led Senate could pave the way for Charter change.

Asked if the President would stop efforts to extend her term, Ermita said: “The efforts of different sectors, if it comes from other branches of government, those are independent efforts.”

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-11-19T05:41:33+00:00UTC11bUTCWed, 19 Nov 2008 05:41:33 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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