People aren’t taking the President’s gamble sitting down. Cabinet members (Florencio Abad of Education, Teresita Quintos Deles, adviser on peace process; Imelda Nicolas of the National Anti Poverty Commission; Juan Santos of Trade and Industry; Alberto Lina of the Bureau of Customs; Emilia Boncodin of Budget; Cesar Purisima of Finance; Corazon Juliano Soliman of Social Welfare; Rene Villa of Agrarian Reform; and Guillermo Parayno, commissioner of the BIR, known as the “doves” and “reformists” in the President’s official family) instead of meekly handing in their resignations, issued a statement, read by Cesar Purisima. By submitting “irrevocable” resignations, they are denying the President the option of reappointing them, so they’re taking themselves out of the equation, as far as the President’s efforts to preserve her rule is concerned.
Cory Aquino will be at the Assumption around noon, and is expected to make a statement. The Philippine National Police are on red alert. The charge d’affaires of the US Embassy has requested air time on TV. Manny Villar has called for a meeting of the resurrected Nacionalista Party at the Hotel Rembrandt, note that Villar is a known backer and friend of the Vice-President. the Liberal Party is also meeting.
The Palace sent out Mike Defensor to attack Purisima, saying Purisima met with the Vice-President a week ago, and that Purisima on his own initiative had gone after former Agriculture Secretary Yap; basically, Defensor hopes to paint Purisima as a scheming renegade. However, Purisima is highly regarded by businessmen, and his statements matter. They have called for the President to resign.
Dinangalen, spokesman of Estrada, condemns the cabinet members for being tasteless and for hitting the President upon resigning, and furthermore, condemns the call of the group for a constitutional succession to the Vice-President. Dinangalen demands the “status quo ante” be established, i.e., restore Estrada! They forget they ratified the present setup by participating in the May 2001 and 2004 elections. Panfilo Lacson, less shrill, praises the cabinet members and says he can live with the Vice-President succeeding the President.
Civil Society, it seems, is prepared to finally rally its forces and make a stand.
The Vice-President has just issued a lofty statement proclaiming his supreme concern is the people; and asking the President to reflect and sacrifice for her people…
Dr. Nemenzo, former president of U.P., still calls for a change in the system and confirms plans are afoot to undertake a change in the entire political system.
Update: AFP says it is neutral, and has issued a directive to all service and unit commanders, to hold true to the chain of command and ignore the politicians.