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Comelec sets timetable for canvass of votes, wants speedy proclamation

The Commission on Elections has laid down a time-table for the completion of the canvass of votes cast in the May 11 elections to ensure the speedy proclamation of winners. In a directive to municipal, city, provincial and district board of canvassers all over the country, the Comelec said the boards must complete their canvass within 36 hours in municipalities, and 72 hours in provinces, districts in Metro Manila, and cities comprising one or more legislative districts. (Manila Bulletin)

Narrow win seen in May for JDV

A confluence of political and other factors is tending toward a narrow win by Speaker Jose de Venecia as the administration’s candidate in the May 11, national elections. This is reflected in the latest national survey OF THE Facts Base, Inc., an organization that claimed to have foretold the outcome of the previous national polls with up to 80 percent accuracy. The analysis jibes with an observation of foreign political experts who gave De Venecia a chance to win even though Estrada now leads in public opinion popularity poll ratings. (MB)

Let’s support Comelec -- FVR

President Ramos said yesterday he remains confident that the Commission on Elections headed by Chairman Bernardo Pardo will institute all necessary mechanisms that will bring about the holding of an honest, orderly, peaceful elections on May 11. The president declined to heed the call of certain candidates and election watchdogs for him to oust Comelec chairman Pardo for the latter’s alleged failure to purge the voters’ list. "This is just a matter of judgment. The Comelec, as far as I can see, has exerted massive efforts to put all the electoral mechanisms in place, " he said. (MB)

No bail urged for poll crimes

Former Executive Secretary Ruben Torres, senatorial candidate with the Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP), said yesterday that Congress should make election cheating a non-bailable offense. Like rape and swindling involving P50 million or more, Torres said election cheating should be labeled a heinous and non-bailable crime because it is a direct threat to democracy. (MB)

Opposition parties form alliance against cheating

Opposition parties fielding candidates in the May 11 elections have formed a tactical alliance against cheating in the polls. The alliance, led by the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), was forged in a meeting yesterday at the Club Filipino in San Juan. Conspicuously missing from the event was the admninistration Lakas-NUCD-Kampi. Namfrel chief Jose Concepcion said the opposition parties agreed to pool their resources to protect all their votes. It will basically involve the sharing of poll documents and manpower on the election day. (Manila Times)

FVR welcomes Erap offer of senior adviser

President Ramos may not relish relish the thought of seeing Vice President Joseph Estrada win over his own candidate in the May elections. Just the same, the Chief Executive, who does not "intend to be inactive" after he steps down from office in June, said he welcomed Estrada’s offer to serve as senior adviser in his administration. In the consultations of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP coalition party, Ramos had expressed his desire to act as senior adviser if any of the administration candidates wins in the elections. Last Sunday, the Vice President, standard-bearer of the opposition Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino, offered Ramos a similar position in the Estrada administration. (MT)

Estrada defends choice of Kuratong gang leader

If Vice President Joseph Estrada’s party can endorse the candidacy of a convicted rapist, why can’t it support the congressional bid of a known criminal gang leader? This was the argument raised by Estrada and other stalwarts of the laban ng Malayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP) as they defended their choice of Renato "Nato" Parojinog as the party’s candidate for congressman of the second district of Misamis Occidental. LAMMP had also endorsed the re-election bid of convicted rapist Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos, according to Sen. Marcelo Fernan, chair of LAMMP’s arbitration ported links with the Kuratong Baleleng, saying the party chose the gang leader because he was recommended by local officials of Misamis Occidental.

Estrada would not comment on Parojinog’s alleged links to his friend, suspected gambling lord Charlie "Atong" Ang.

It was the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) then headed by Estrada that ran after the Baleleng Gang. Eleven suspected memebers of the gang were gunned down by PACC men in 1995. That incident led to the dismissal of Estrada’s close aide, Chief Supt. Panfilo Lacson, and other generals.

Lacson and company were accused of silencing the gang memebers because the PACC had reportedly used them in previous operations. (MT)

As of 21 April, 1998

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Christian Action for Peaceful and Meaningful Elections
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