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APRIL 23, 1998


A third-term mayor of Matuguinao in Western Samar was shot dead Tuesday morning by a lone gunman before some 200 stunned supporters in barangay Ligaya, some 100 kilometers away from the capital town of Catbalogan. Mayor Celso dela Cruz was campaigning for his wife, who is running for mayor, when the suspect Louie Nicole Obiado, pulled the trigger. Obiado is a known supporter of Carlos dela Cruz, the mayor’s younger brother challenging the mayoral bid of the victim’s wife, Nice dela Cruz, in Matuguinao town. Supt. Claro Francisco, Samar police director, said his men were looking into the possibility of Carlos’ involvement in the killing as the two brothers had not been in good terms. (PDI)


Defying its own rules on the poll ban, the Commission on Elections has reshuffled the 1,685 provincial, city and municipal treasurers nationwide who would secure election materials and serve in the canvassing board. The move to reshuffle the sensitive officers was said to have taken effect on April 1, but the Comelec only announced it yesterday when reporters asked about it. The reassignment will be effect until may 31, 1998. Comelec Commissioner Manolo Gorospe defended the reshuffle, saying it was made in the interest of "ensuring clean and honest elections." (PDI)


Jose Concepcion Jr. of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, yesterday rejected the offer of various political parties to help finance the poll watch group’s Quick Count operations. He said Namfrel would not want to be tainted in any way and would not accept funds from political parties even if donated equal amounts. He said the policy not to accept donations from any political group was considered one of Namfrel’s "Ten Commandments." (PDI)

The suspense can kill, but the nation will just have to wait.

The Commission on Elections announced yesterday that no exit polls will be allowed during the May 11 elections to prevent any "unreasonable confusion" that may arise. Comelec Commissioner Manolo Gorospe said the poll body will not accredit any application for the conduct of the exit polls on the May 11 elections to prevent "confusion among the voters" on who among the candidates is winning or losing. In an exit poll, voters emerging from the polling place are asked at random whom they voted for. Results of such polls are usually announced immediately. They are popular in the US and are usually considered highly reliable. But Gorospe said Philippine political culture is not ready for exit polls. (TPS)


Vice President Joseph Estrada gained an "insurmountable lead" in the latest poll survey over his rivals in the May 11 presidential elections, the opposition Laban ng Malayang masang Pilipino announced yesterday. The Philippine Survey and Research Center (PSRC) said Estrada, LAMMP standard-bearer reportedly surged ahead in the 11-way presidential race with 34 percent against 12 percent for runner-up Raul Roco of Aksiyon Demokratiko. Speaker Jose de Venecia of LAKAS and Alfredo Lim of Liberal Party were tied at third place with 11 percent apiece. (TPS)


The Commission on Elections has reportedly thrown out a lawyer’s petition to disqualify Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, standard-bearer of the Liberal Party (LP), on the ground that the poll body has no jurisdiction to resolve cases involving questions on citizenship. In a resolution, which would be issued today, the poll body’s second division under Commissioner Julio Desamito reportedly upheld the defense raised by Lim’s camp that the Comelec has no authority to resolve citizenship cases. Comelec said the resolution went in favor of Lim, who had earlier denounced the poll body for allegedly succumbing to the pressure exerted by Malacañang. (TMT)


Forty-six policemen and fourteen military officers had been caught violating the election period gun ban in the past 100 days. The uniformed men were not on duty and did not have gun ban exemptions when found with firearms. They among the 1,300 persons so far arrested in the first 100 days of the election period, according to the report submitted by the Philippine National Police to the Comelec. Police manning mobile checkpoints seized a total of 1,100 firearms so far and also seized 18 grenades and 215 bladed weapons. (TMT)

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