MANILA, OCTOBER 16, 2003  (BULLETIN) By Joel C.atencio - Presidential aspirant and former education secretary Raul S. Roco and the leaders of two other political parties left the People's Power Coalition (PPC) yesterday because they said they felt "they were abandoned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on her political ambitions."

This developed after Roco met with former Cebu governor Lito Osmeņa of Promdi and former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa of Reporma the other day. They agreed to continue to pursue and reaffirm their quest for truth, justice, and honest governance, the ideals that propelled the Epifanio de los Santos Ave,(EDSA) 2 rallly.

Roco said the three parties will pursue principled leadership, good governance, people empowerment, education, provincial development, and increased productivity through full employment. "We are the best choice," he stressed.

Political analysts said that the 2004 presidential elections will now have a possible three-cornered fight among President Arroyo, Roco, and opposition Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.

"Mrs. Arroyo has turned her back on us. She has not called us in their meetings. So, by President Arroyo chairman of PPC, has apparently abandoned the PPC and what it stood for at EDSA 2.. In embracing Lakas-CMD, she has gone back to politics as usual and turned her back on the demand of the Filipino people for real change," he said.

"This has brought the Philippines back to square one in economic and political development," Roco added in a news conference at his office in Pasig City.

Promdi, Reporma, and Aksyon will rekindle the spirit and hope of EDSA2 and seek common cause with all patriotic Filipinos who want a better future for the Philippines. They will be united in fielding and supporting common candidates in all areas of the country.

Former Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the alliance among the three parties formalizes the breakup of PPC due to the "dismal failure" of Mrs. Arroyo to achieve the promised reforms for an economic turnaround, more jobs, stabilization of peace and order, eradication of corruption, and effective governance.

"It is a potent protest against the lackadaisical leadership of President Arroyo and a patent rejection of her declaration to seek the presidency for another six years despite her categorical and repeated pronouncements that she will not run for election," Lagman said.

A survey conducted by the Roper Business Confidence index said many Filipino businessmen (36 %) picked Roco as their favorite candidate in next year's presidential elections even as 46 % expresssed belief in Mrs. Arroyo's sincerity.

The Roper survey covered 300 respondents who worked for companies among the 700 largest in the country in terms of sales of around P740 million or more, as compiled by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved