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APRIL 29, 1998



"What is the remedy when there is a failure of election? Is it a revolution? Is it a rebellion? Of course not, it is to have another election or another voting session." With these words, President Ramos said yesterday sought to allay fears that an expected failure of elections in certain parts of Mindanao would thwart the proclamation of national candidates in the May 11 elections, including the next president. The Commission on Elections said special elections could be immediately held in these areas, and their results could be speedily canvassed so that national candidates could be proclaimed before June 30. The President also clarified that a poll failure in areas with deteriorating peace and order situation would not be as widespread as to affect the results of the national elections. (PDI)


Members of the opposition yesterday objected to the airing of a religious rally that became a virtual campaign rally for administration candidate Jose de Venecia Jr. and said they are likely to file a case before the Commission on Elections. Comelec officials, however, opted to remain silent, saying they would rather wait for the case to be formally failed with the poll body. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (PRP) and former defense secretary Renato de Villa (Reporma) said despite claims that the gathering last Saturday was a religious rally of the Jesus is Lord movement, the affair featured and endorsed De Venecia. The prayer rally was aired at the government television station. (TMT)

LAKAS POST-PRAYER CAUCUS: Funds flowed for JDV win

After storming the heavens with prayers for the victory of administration standard-bearer Jose de Venecia Jr., local candidates found themselves catching manna not from the skies but from Lakas-NUCD. At a party caucus Saturday night, Lakas once again distributed largesse to its local candidates. In exchange, the local candidates were directed to deliver 60 to 70 percent of the votes in their areas to ensure 14-0 victory for the party’s national candidates – De Venecia, his running mate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the 12 Lakas senatorial candidates. The party’s local bets who attended the meeting were given their "fourth batch" of campaign funds. A candidate told that the congressional bets were given P300,000 each; gubernatorial bets P200,000 each; and city mayors received, P100,000 to P150,000 each. (TMT)


The Third Force is dead. A furious Renato de Villa yesterday accused a priest and Church-based organizations of using the ongoing talks for the creation of the so-called third force as a "predetermined" effort to install Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim as its standard-bearer. Because of this, De Villa, standard-bearer of Reporma, declared he was backing out of the talks and pursuing his candidacy through the party he formed. Brokers for the third force, led by Brother Rolando Dizon of De La Salle-Bacolod, are scheduled to hold their final talks in Bacolod City today. De Villa is boycotting the meeting. (TMT)

POLL-FAILURE SPIN SCORED:  Salonga Leads Attack on Comelec’s Defeatist Scenario

Former Senate President Jovito Salonga said yesterday that President Ramos will be the sole beneficiary of a failure of elections, a scenario conceded even by a senior official of the poll body who cited the very real possibilities of violence breaking out and massive fraud taking place in several key areas. A respected constitutionalist, Salonga warned of a military takeover in such a case. This specter of political chaos held aloft by no less than Comelec Commissioner Manolo Gorospe on Monday brought on the Comelec yesterday a deluge of brickbats from all sides, save the ruling Lakas. Dean Rufus Rodriquez, head of the Lawyers for Erap and Angara for Democracy, supported Salonga’s view. "Only President Ramos will benefit most if there is no proclamation." Salonga said: "If there’s no proclamation on or before June 30, there will be a big problem, a chaos and a vacuum in the leadership." Therefore, the military can take over because it is the "strongest entity" that can move in, said Salonga, citing the Constitution. (TODAY)


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) accredited yesterday the six major political parties entitled to have official watchers in every polling place and canvassing center in the May 11 elections and to copies of certificates of canvass for president, vice president, senators, members of the House of Representatives and provincial officials. Accredited by the Comelec en banc as six major political parties were Lakas-NUCD-UMDP-Kampi coalition, Laban ng Malayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP), Reporma-LM coalition, Liberal Party (LP), Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), and the PDP-Laban. (MB)


The student vote has become the protest vote against candidates perceived to be traditional politicians and this will make a difference in the May elections. This was the assessment made by Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet Sen. Raul Roco after mock elections in colleges nationwide showed him ahead of other presidentiable candidates, including Speaker Jose de Venecia of Lakas and Joseph Estrada of LAMMP. In mock elections held last April 23 during the KKK ’98 (Kilalanin at Kilatisin ang mga Kandidato) forum of the University of the Philippines (UP), UP-Diliman students chose Roco by 342 votes out of a total of 432 respondents. Sen. Miriam Santiago of the People’s Reform Party-Gabay Bayan got 24 votes while Promdi’s Lito Osmeña and Santiago Dumlao of Bago tied for third with 16. De Venecia was fifth with six votes while Estrada had one vote. (MB)


The Peso yesterday breached to the 40 to $1 barrier, the lowest since January this year, as banks, taking advantage of the usual pre-election jitters, engaged in speculative trading anew. The peso depreciated by 1.07 to an average of 39.883 from the previous day’s 83.817, hitting a low of 40.1 per dollar in the morning at the Philippine Dealing System (PDS), the electronic interbank currency spot market. (TMT Business)

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