Ejercito: Aquino must ‘step up,’ not resign
MANILA, Philippines — Crossing party lines, two senators rejected on Wednesday calls for President Benigno Aquino III’s resignation over the Mamasapano carnage, although one said he should “shape up,” be more “sensitive” and should have “empathy” as he approaches the end of his term.
“Even if I come from the opposition, I do not think PNoy (Aquino’s nickname) resigning or even removing him from office right now will be good for the nation. This will just worsen the divisiveness and create political instability–as evidenced by removing presidents from office,” Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, a member of the opposition bloc in the Senate, said in a text message to reporters.
“Since he only has over a year left in his term (we) might as well let him finish. I just hope that PNoy will shape up, be more sensitive and have empathy towards the end of his term,” he said.
Ejercito’s own father, then President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, was ousted in 2001.
At least two catholic bishops have called for Aquino’s resignation, saying the President should take the responsibility for the death of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) during a bloody encounter with Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindana last January 25.
Aquino, in a televised addressed to the nation, admitted knowing the operation aimed at serving the warrants of arrest against two suspected international terrorists.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, an administration ally, also came to the defense of the President.
“I disagree,” Escudero said when sought for comment on the resignation call against Aquino. “In fact, we don’t even know yet what really happened.”
The two senators did not also agree with former President Fidel Ramos’ reported statement that Aquino should accept liability for the death of the 44 SAF men since he broke the chain of command.
“Liable for what? What law did he exactly violate, if ever?” Escudero asked.
Noting that Ramos has been active lately in “taking potshots” at Aquino, Ejercito posed this question at the former leader: “Has FVR (Ramos initials) forgotten that it was during his administration when the MILF )Moro of Islamic Liberation Front) was at its strongest?”
“It was during his time when the MILF had 40 camps, including Camp Abubakar. Bunkers and other MILF facilities were said to even be funded by NIA (National Intelligence Agency) funds,” the senator added.
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