Gloria Macapagal Arroyo: ‘I shall not step down from presidency.’

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her last State of the Nation Address July 27 amid term extension controversies, without clearly announcing if she will step down 2010 from Malacañang.

“At the end of this speech I shall step down from this stage, but not from the presidency. My term does not end until next year,” President Arroyo said.

The Chief Executive said that until her term ends, she will continue working for the state.

“Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino. The nation comes first. There is much to do as head of state to the very last day,” she said. “There isn’t a day I do not work at my job or a waking moment when I do not think through a work-related problem.”

The president lashed out her critics whom she said “cannot begrudge the long hours” she spent working.

“Our people deserve a government that works just as hard as they do,” she said. The head of the state also claimed, “I have never done any of the things that have scared my worst critics so much.

“They are frightened by their own shadows,” she said.

The President claimed to have resolved military crises with the ordinary powers of her

“In the face of attempted coups, I issued emergency proclamations just in case,” she said. “My critics call it dictatorship. I call it determination.”

President Arroyo added, “I never declared martial law, though they are running scared as if I did. In truth, what they are really afraid of is their weakness in the face of this self-imagined threat.”

Meanwhile, protesters opposing the President and Charter Change gathered in front of the Ever Gotesco Mall at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City amid the heavy rain.

The protesters burned Arroyo effigies to express their frustrations and anger toward the administration.

The crowd numbered to some 12,000 according to protest leaders while the police reported the number to be around 9,000. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Gabriela, Tindig-Nation, Anakpawis, and various student groups, among many others, participated in the said rally. ▪

Article by Monica Joy Cantilero