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(From the top five news dailies)

Candidates seek Comelec Chair’s Ouster

Candidates and election watchdogs condemned Commision on Elections Chair Bernardo Pardo for his refusal to clean the voters’ list, saying his inaction is a criminal offense for which he could be impeached. Reporma vice-presidential candidate Oscar Orbos said Pardo’s refusal to clean the voters’ list, amid reports of widespread padding and shaving of names of registered voters on the lists, constituted a violation of the Comelec’s mandate to ensure honest, orderly, peaceful polls.   "It’s the Comelec’s job to clean the voters’ list. Failing to do so is a mockery of the electoral process," Orbos told the reporters. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

`Third Force' not dead

The move to forge a "third force" that would field a common presidential ticket to challenge the forces of front runner Vice President Joseph Estrada of the Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino and the administration candidate is not yet dead. This was the assertion yesterday of Bro. Rolando Dizon, president of the University of Saint La Salle in Bacolod City, who is spearheading the creation of a "winnable and viable" alternative to Estrada and De Venecia. Dizon said he was optimistic that merger talks among the camps of presidential candidates Alfredo Lim of the Liberal Party, Renato de Villa of Reporma and former Cebu Gov. Emilio Osmeña of Promdi would still push through. (PDI)

Comelec ready to supervise May elections

The Commission on Elections, with less than 5,000 personnel nationwide, is set to supervise in the May 11 polls more than a million deputies, more than half a million of whom are public school teachers, and more than one million watchers of registered political parties, members of the accredited citizens arm, candidates and organizations participating in the election of the party-list representatives. (Manila Bulletin)

Muslim leaders support Imelda

Leaders of various Muslim sectors in Lanao del Sur have endorsed the presidential bid of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan candidate Imelda R. Marcos. The Lanao del Sur leaders, led by Sultan Borocot Somerada M. Mipukur, a member of the group of 15 Royal Sultans of Lanao del Sur, said they are supporting Mrs. Marcos, who is representative of Leyte in Congress, because of her genuine concern for the poor and the ability to govern effectively as shown by her many accomplishments as minister of human settlement and governor of Metro Manila during the time of the late president Marcos. (MB)

De Venecia needs me, says Enrile

"He needs me. I do not need him," said Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile of Lakas-NUCD standard-bearer Speaker Jose de Venecia. Enrile, the only independent presidential candidate the 11 aspirants, issued this statement Saturday night in Tagbilaran City (Bohol) in response to reports that there have been talks between his camp and the Lakas-NUCD for him to withdraw from the presidential race and support the candidacy of De Venecia. (MB)

Erap sees Ramos’ birthday gift as endorsement of bid

Was it an innocuous gift, or was it a veiled presidential endorsement? Vice President Joseph Erap Estrada believes a birthday present – commemorative Centennial plate – from President Ramos last Saturday was a tacit endorsement of his presidential candidacy. In return, the VP said Mr. Ramos could be his senior adviser "or whatever post he so desires" in an Estrada administration. The standard-bearer of the opposition Laban ng Malayang Masang Pilipion (LAMMP) expressed his gratitude to the President for the commemorative plate, which Estrada said presaged his inevitable victory in the May 11 elections. (The Philippine Star)

New proof in pyramid scam found

Victims of the multi-million peso pyramiding scam allegedly masterminded by Josephine "Bunny" German are set to submit to the Department of Justice new evidence including documents linking her husband Aurelio and other members of the German family to the racket. The victims also asked government authorities to issue a hold-departure order against Aurelio, former publicist and confidant of Vice President Joseph Estrada, pending final resolution of their complaints. (TPS)

Roco out of "L.O.R.D." but brokers set final meeting

Erap: 3rd Force too late

The leading candidate in the May 11 presidential race, VP Joseph Estrada, said yesterday it is "too late" for a "Third Force" to be formed against him and the administration candidate. The letter "R" in the supposed Third Force acronym "LORD" categorically said he did not participate in late week’s make-or-break meeting in Bacolod City because it is the people’s "sovereign will," and not surveys, which will determine the winner on May 11. And the running mate of the letter "D" in "LORD" claimed the vaunted talks never even got off the ground. (TODAY)


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