PING ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL BID

Laoag, Ilocos Norte, April 1, 2003 -- Sen. Panfilo Lacson has announced 
that he will run for president in 2004 under the banner of the united 
opposition.

In a press briefing with Ilocos Norte newsmen, Lacson said he had to make 
the declaration to erase suspicions he is dilly-dallying on his 
presidential bid and diffuse speculations that he is willing to run as vice 
president of the opposition.

Lacson was in Laoag, Ilocos Norte for the 56th commencement exercises of 
the Northern Christian College.

Reports said that opposition leaders have failed to convince businessman 
Eduardo Cojuangco and action king Fernando Poe Jr. to be their standard bearer.

Local executives of Ilocos Norte, led by Vice Governor Wendell Chua and 
Currimao Vice Mayor Errol Ramajo, promised to support Lacson in his 
presidential bid.

Ramajo assured Lacson that Ilocos Norte residents would safeguard his votes 
cast in his favor so as not to repeat what happened in the 1992 
presidential polls, when, he said, Cojuangco overwhelmingly won in Ilocos 
Norte but his votes were diverted to other candidates.

"Panalo si Boss Danding sa botohan, pero natalo siya sa bilangan. Garapalan 
talaga ang dayaan noon. Hindi kami papayag na ganito ang gagawin nila kay 
Lacson," Ramajo was quoted as saying.

"Tuloy na ang laban, wala nang atrasan," Mayor Asuncion Pagdilao of Pinili 
town said.

The academe, student and youth sectors in the province said only Lacson has 
the quality, integrity and political will to lead the country, especially 
during this time of crisis.

Various peoples and non-government organizations such as truckers groups, 
hotel employees confederations, steel owners, and contractors associations 
have launched "Ping for President" movements. (By JOAN DAIRO, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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