Apparently resigned to an Estrada Presidency a week before ballots could even be cast, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin yesterday asked the people to "accept the judgment of the Filipino electorate once the judgment is clear." Sin also called for another people power revolution if the next president is installed through massive cheating. In a pastoral statement to be read in Manila churches on the eve of the election, Sin said: "There is nothing that would hurt our people more than these elections be subverted through massive cheating." In this sacred responsibility, let it be clearly said: We must accept the judgment of the Filipino electorate, once this judgment is clear, even if this judgment may differ from our personal judgment is clear," the influential prelate added. (The Manila Times)
PTV-4 FACES SUIT FOR AIRING JIL RALLY
The Peoples Television Network (PTV-4) was formally charged yesterday for allegedly violating the Omnibus Election Code in airing the Jesus is Lord (JIL) rally two Sundays ago and the Jesus Miracle Crusade rally last Sunday. This developed as election officials continued to distance themselves from the PTV-4 controversy, with one poll commissioner giving the lame excuse that he did not see the coverage of the two religious movements. In a four-page complaint before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) law department, private citizen Leonora Torres said PTV-4 violated Sec. 261 (0) Article 22 of the Omnibus Election Code which enumerates various election offenses. Sec. 261 (0) of the Code bans the "use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign." (The Manila Times)
BROTHER MIKE, NOW UNSURE ABOUT ERAP
NOT bearing too well under pressure brought to bear upon him following reports of his endorsement of LAMMP standard-bearer Joseph "Erap" Estrada for the presidency, El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde yesterday denied he endorsed Erap and called the reports ''disinformation.''
But sources close to the Inquirer stuck to their story that Velarde is endorsing Estrada although ''privately.'' The Inquirer learned that practically all the presidential candidates called up Velarde to seek clarification. ''For the record, we are not endorsing Erap. As I said we are not endorsing anybody at this time and we will maintain our neutrality up to the last hour,'' he said. ''Basically, we are Catholics, and I do not issue guidelines apart from the guidelines issued by the Catholic Church,'' he added. ''Those are the guidelines that we take into consideration.'' A source who had talked with Velarde told the Inquirer, however, that the religious leader confirmed his endorsement of Estrada for president, as well as of Francisco S. Tatad for vice president. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
SIN WARNING TO MILITARY : 'Stay out of polls or face people's power'
THE MILITARY got an earful yesterday from Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin who warned the often unruly institution to stay out of next week's elections, saying any intervention would be opposed with ''people power.'' ''We must accept the judgment of the Filipino electorate once this judgment is clear, even if this judgment may differ from our personal judgment,'' Sin said in a pastoral letter to be read at Sunday Masses in Metro Manila. The influential archbishop issued the warning following reports that the administration would resort to cheating to enable Speaker Jose de Venecia win the presidential election. De Venecia is trailing opposition candidate Joseph Estrada in popularity surveys. The pastoral letter also came amid the escalation of election-related violence in the country. Sin said the military was supposed to defend the public against ''any ambitious faction'' out to gain public office by fraud. ''Collusion'' by the military in any such fraudulent intervention betrays the sacred trust the people place in the military, according to Sin. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
GOROSPE: POLLS WILL BE PEACEFUL BUT
Elections, such as next Mondays exercise, may be peaceful but not necessarily honest, according to a poll official who has been drawing flak for his controversial pronouncements. But Commission on Elections Commissioner Manolo Gorospe also said the nagging suspicion that the Ramos administration had a grand plan to cheat on Monday was a "figment of the imagination."
"While elections may be peaceful, they may not be honest," he said in a press briefing yesterday. "Walang barilan kung minsan, may nandadaya naman (There may not be shooting, but then theres cheating)," he said. Still Gorospe stressed that the Comelec would strive to make Mondays elections also honest and orderly. This according to him, is "our monumental vision." (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
MILF VOWS NOT TO DISRUPT MAY 11 ELECTIONS
Muslim rebels will not disrupt nest weeks national elections, and most will be allowed to campaign and vote for candidates of their choice, Ghazali Jaafar, chief peace negotiator for theMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), announced the rebel policy.
Defense Secretary Fortunato Abat said government troops will not be deployed to areas held by the MILF unless violence erupts and the military has to intervene to restore order. (The Phil. Star)
MORE AREAS PLACED IN COMELEC HANDS
In a yet to be released resolution, the Comelec identified the new areas of immediate concern as Masbate, Surigao del Sur, Zambales, and c certain parts of Nueva Ecija and Cavite. The five provinces will be placed under the direct control of Comelec as concern grows over the deteriorating peace and order situation in the areas. (Today)
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