Friday, July 8, 2005
Amid news of a drop of the Philippine peso for a sixth straight week, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday asked all members of the cabinet to resign, preparing the road for change in the administration.
In the past month the peso has fallen 3.1 percent due in part to accusations that Arroyo cheated in last year’s elections, as well as accusations that her family members have been taking kickbacks from illegal gambling operations.
The central bank may move to buy the peso in an attempt to stem the decline and raise lenders’ reserve requirements so they have less money to bet against the currency.
While Arroyo was asking for the resignations, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and other officials, including Tax Commissioner Guillermo Parayno, Customs Commissioner Bert Lina, Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin and Trade Secretary Juan Santos, called for Arroyo’s resignation. The text of their statement is available here.
However, Arroyo refused, and while addressing the nation via radio she said “I am not resigning my office. To do so under circumstances that connote an Edsa 3 (the third people’s revolution) would condemn any successor to the possibility of an Edsa 4, then an Edsa 5, and so on and so on, unless our political system were first reformed to make it more responsive to the people’s will, such that changes in leadership come about in an orderly and stable manner…”
Arroyo said that the time had come to face the fact that the political system had degenerated so much that partisan agenda is coming before national interest.
She pointed to the huge emigration from the country as an indication of the large problems within, while endless scandals and conflict seem to plague the southeast Asian nation.
The President ended her address by promising to bring a resolution to all that has plagued the country.