Fuentes to quit Confed post if group pushes for people?s initiative

Fuentes, who was elected as new Confed chair last August 3, told MindaNews  that Confed members allied with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are reportedly bent on passing a resolution declaring full support to the proposed Charter changes.

Fuentes said the pending resolution is set for approval by members of Confed, which is composed mostly of stalwarts from the administration party Lakas-Christian and Muslim Democrats, on its next meeting in Cagayan de Oro City.

Fuentes said Confed, the biggest gathering of top local chief executives in the island, was supposed to meet on Sept. 15 but host Mayor Vicente Emano asked to reset the meeting in October.

“The resolution would be certainly be passed, there no question about that. But the thing is, I cannot support it and I don’t intend to compromise my stand,” said Fuentes, a member of the opposition Nationalist People’s  Coalition (NPC).

The President, who personally endorsed the proposed revision of the Constitution, earlier authorized the creation of a Constitutional Commission to review and recommend the amendments.  

Among the Commission’s recommendations was the shift from the present bicameral-presidential form of government to a unicameral-parliamentary system by amending the Constitution’s sections 6 and 7.

The recommendation, which was cited by its proponents as solution to the “country’s worsening political and economic woes, was eventually adopted by local government officials allied with the Arroyo government who later spearheaded a nationwide signature drive or people’s initiative to pursue the Charter changes.

Fuentes opposed the people’s initiative and questioned the proposed Charter changes pushed by the Arroyo government is very questionable as it appears to be a ploy to make the President and her allies remain in power.

“I don’t think shifting to a parliamentary system will make our government and economy strong or even stable. These will not happen unless we have a government that is committed to eradicate corruption and has political maturity,” she said.
As Confed chair, Fuentes said she is mandated to sign such resolution when Confed eventually approves it.

“That would put me in an awkward situation so it’s just proper for me to step down,” she said.

Fuentes said she realized that Confed should be led by “somebody who is  acceptable to Malacañang and not me who is not even welcome there.”

Fuentes supported the President during the 2004 elections but later distanced herself from the administration when the “Hello Garci” controversy surfaced last year.

The controversy linked the President to an alleged massive fraud in the last elections as supposedly indicated in her conversations with former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

Fuentes later supported the impeachment move against the President.

Last January, Fuentes was removed by the President as chair of the Regional Development Council of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao, a move the governor described as payback for turning against the Arroyo administration.(Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)