Belmonte on calls for Aquino to step down : “Ridiculous and uncalled for”

By , on February 17, 2015


President Benigno S. Aquino III is shown with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon, before delivering his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the Joint Session of the 16th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday (July 28). (Photo by  Benhur Arcayan / Malacanang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno S. Aquino III is shown with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon, before delivering his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the Joint Session of the 16th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday (July 28). (Photo by Benhur Arcayan / Malacanang Photo Bureau)

MANILA — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., on Tuesday said that the call for President Benigno Aquino III to step down from office is “ridiculous and uncalled for.”

In a press briefing, Belmonte said the call of some people to relinquish his power can only create more problems than solution.

Ang galing-galing ng presidente papalitan mo. [You’re going to succeed an outstanding president.] You know this is not the right time as they have called this campaign in the past presidents,” Belmonte told House reporters.

He said that each politician’s popularity never been stable. It is up and down, depending on the issue. Peace and order, addressing corruption and pushing the economy are the banner issues that President Aquino can be proud of.

“I strongly believe that President Aquino can recover in time. Since the election is still more than a year from now, his political endorsement can be favorable,” Belmonte said.

He reminded that the deadline of filing of candidacy is on October this year and political party needs to scout their candidates after Holy Week.

“Election is scheduled on May 2016 not on October. Election is more than a year from now. I know the President and his men can recover before election comes,” he said.

When asked by reporters who between the President and Vice President Jejomar Binay can recover ahead, he said, “I wish both them the best of luck.”

Liberal Party Secretary General Mel Senen Sarmiento said that the call for President Aquino’s resignation because of the tragic Mamasapano incident does not have the support of the majority of the people who wants him to complete his term.

Sarmiento said that Aquino still continues to enjoy the support of the majority of the people despite attempts to pin him down on the death of the 44 Special Action Force policemen because of his administration’s success in the campaign against corruption and in putting the country’s economy in the right direction.

“There is absolutely no basis for this call for the president resign. We all grieve for what happened in Mamasapano and I know that even the President feels that he should have done more to stop it but he should not be faulted for what happened. It is his duty to uphold the law and stop terrorism from spreading further and deeper on our soil and who else would he order to carry out this dangerous task but our uniformed personnel?” Sarmiento said.

For strange reason, some of the people who are calling for Aquino’s resignation were beneficiaries of the excesses of former and present government officials who are now in jail and are being prosecuted for corruption, Sarmiento noted referring to the group calling themselves the National Transformation Council (NTC).

“The presence of these people in this movement to oust President Aquino obviously shows their motive. They want to discredit the president’s success in putting the country’s economy back on track. They want to weaken our institutions to destroy the gains of this administration in the fight against graft and corruption. They want to go back to power. That’s not what our people want,” Sarmiento said.

He said that while the people are demanding for the truth on what really went wrong when operatives of the PNP-SAF raided the safehouse of wanted international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias ”Marwan,” there is no real clamor for the president’s removal from office.

The senior House official said that President Aquino only has a little more than a year in office so instead of calling for his resignation, the NTC and some leaders of the Catholic Church who are supporting calls for his ouster, should just wait for him to step down and field their best candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

“What’s the hurry? The president will step down in 2016 and that’s just a few months away so there’s no need for him to resign,” he said.