Petition for Erap’s ouster circulating in Saipan

Posted on Nov 27 2000

A petition supporting the call of resignation or removal from office of Philippine President Joseph Estrada has been going around in the CNMI among overseas Filipino workers based here.

More than a thousand have reportedly signed the paper that began circulating immediately after the political crisis confronting the Estrada administration hit last month.

The one-page petition has sought support from the estimated 20,000 Filipino workers and residents on the islands for the mounting calls back home for their embattled president to step down.

“[W]e believe that the Philippine President, Joseph Ejercito ‘Erap’ Estrada is the primary root cause of the downfall of our country’s economy. His weak administration that lacks genuine leadership has worsened our country’s peace and order, destabilized business and investment climate, has rampant cronyism and massive graft and corruption,” read the petition.

“We also believe that Estrada’s administration is incompetent and does not have a sincere commitment for the betterment of our country and its citizenry,” it added.

Petitioners also have judged Mr. Estrada guilty of bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and has “culpably violated” the Philippine Constitution, thus they said he has lost his moral rights to govern the country.

“[W]e strongly support the call for the immediate resignation of [Mr. Estrada] in order to save our beloved country [from] plunging further,” they said in the paper.

Once it has completed signature gathering from the CNMI-based OFW’s, the petition will be sent to the Philippines, addressed to various non-governmental organizations, Makati Business Club, the country’s House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as to the television station ABS-CBN.

Mr. Estrada has come under fire in recent weeks over allegations that he received millions of dollars from a provincial governor, Luis “Chavit” Singson of Ilocos Norte province, in payoffs in the nationwide illegal gambling “jueteng.”

The Philippine leader, who has denied the charges, is facing impeachment proceedings in the country’s Senate which will start by next week, according to news reports.

The petition is the first ever undertaken in the CNMI by Filipino workers in connection with the political and economic problems besetting their country.

There is no immediate comment from Philippine Consul to the CNMI Julia Heidemann or any Consulate officials regarding the mass action.

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