ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Philippines: Aquino seeks control over house, reaches out to rival
Benigno Aquino made overtures Friday to one of his defeated rivals in the Philippine presidential election as part of efforts to win control of parliament, reported AFP.
Aquino's Liberal Party will not have majority of seats in the Senate or the House of Representatives even though he enjoyed a commanding win in Monday's presidential election.
The local press has reported that the Nacionalista Party of defeated presidential candidate Manuel Villar had offered to cooperate with Aquino's Liberal Party to give him a working majority.
"There shouldn't be a problem if it is for the good of the country," Aquino told a news conference in his northern hometown of Tarlac when asked about the possible alliance with Villar's party.
There is widespread speculation that outgoing President Gloria Arroyo, who Aquino has vowed to investigate over allegations of election fraud and corruption, will try to build a rival powerbase in the house by becoming speaker.
The house was a bulwark of support for Arroyo, quashing numerous impeachment attempts and graft investigations against her. She won a parliamentary seat in Monday's elections.
Aquino has also accused Arroyo of trying to retain undue influence after she steps down through a series of last-minute appointments of people close to her to powerful positions.
In this light, Aquino said Friday he would ignore tradition and refuse to be sworn in as president by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Arroyo this week appointed a former close aide, Renato Corona, as the next chief justice.
Aquino has challenged the legality of the move and said Arroyo should have let the new president name the new chief justice.
"In all probability it (taking the oath of office on June 30) will probably be before a village chief," Aquino said, naming the lowest-ranked local executive post in the country.
"There is no telling that his appointment will not be questioned at some point in time. At the end of the day I do not want to start off with a question mark on the validity of my oath of office."