On Thursday, known politicians like former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales attended the gathering here of the National Transformation Council (NTC).
Although many political figures seen in the gathering were identified with the administration of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, some members of the Catholic Church also mixed with the crowd.
Tatad said corruption issues that troubled both the opposition camp and dragged key personalities in the Cabinet of Pres. Aquino “has inflicted so much harm” to the nation.
“Aquino caused a political wreck. He should step down so we could fix the system, put back the constitution in place and revitalized the election process,” Tatad said.
Tatad said that the NTC was organized three years ago and that they already made several assemblies in different parts of the country and have made “declarations” of their position.
Tatad said the declaration was first made in Lipa, Batangas in August, in Cebu last October, Butuan last November, two days ago in Angeles and in Davao.
The Davao assembly was attended by leaders of the Roman Catholic church headed by former Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao City, some members of civil society organization and former Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesman, Eid Kabalu.
Among the thousands who came to the event came from the Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK, or Basic Christian Communities) from the Davao region and other parts of Mindanao.
The NTC has also questioned the legitimacy of the Aquino administration over the use of the Precinct Count Optical System (PCOS) automated electoral system (AES) machines, which he and other NTC leaders have described as inaccurate and rotten.
“We are not holding honest to goodness electoral systems anymore, it’s the (PCOS) machines who are doing it. There’s no way of checking because they removed all safety features and accuracy mechanism from these machines in 2010,” said Tatad.
Gonzales said that the company Smartmatic “conducted the elections, not the Comelec (Commission on Elections)” and that “no one can say for a fact that their votes were counted correctly.”
“Which means whoever is in the office today are only de facto leaders not truly elected by our people, they must step down not resign,” said Gonzales.
Electoral watchdog AES Watch, composed of church groups and computer professionals also raised the same issues before the 2010 Presidential elections but the Comelec have defended the use of the PCOS.
The NTC is offering Pres. Aquino a graceful way out by resigning than get unseated by a People Power movement.
“It is not necessarily People Power if he steps down peacefully,” Tatad said.
After the “removal” of Aquino, Gonzales said that the “Transition Council” would govern.
Gonzales also said that the NTC would push for federalism, if given a chance to govern, which means they would also pursue charter change.
Contacted to comment on the NTC gathering, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said that “whatever the objectives of the group are, how their campaign will go about and who will compose the so-called transition council must be clear to the people.”
Zarate said that “what is clear is that many are discontented with the Aquino government.”
“Even his allies are now distancing from him because nothing he said on his campaign were fulfilled, they were just empty promises,” he said.
Zarate said that Aquino’s “centerpiece program on corruption daang matuwid (straight path) only sent his enemies to jail but essentially failed.”
Zarate said that no single alliance for the resignation or removal of Aquino has yet been convened. However, a broad network has been formed to call for the abolition for “pork barrel system” which he said “is still very present.”