QUEZON CITY: PLAN TO DECEIVE RALLY PARTICIPANTS UNCOVERED

METRO MANILA, February 20, 2004 (STAR) By Perseus Echeminada - Two casual Quezon City Hall employees have been dismissed after they were found to be part of group that has been recruiting urban poor residents and fooling them into thinking they would be paid for their participation in massive rallies on Feb. 22 and 25.

Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday the massive recruitment activities are being carried out with the promise of P300 to P500 for each participant.

"The still unidentified group in the past several days has been listing down names of people in District 2, notably in government center areas in Commonwealth, Holy Spirit all the way down to Novaliches area," he said.

The national government centers are home to an estimated 600,000 people, mostly poor residents coming from various parts of the country.

The mayor said the groups have been using casual city hall and congressional district employees in listing down precinct numbers and asking people to join the rally in Luneta and EDSA.

"Thousands have been approached by these people," Belmonte said.

He said two city hall casual employees were dismissed after it was found out that they were among those talking to people to attend the rallies.

The mayor said the recruiters are making it appear that the mobilization is being carried by Malacaņang for the EDSA People Power celebration.

He wanted the people not to be fooled by the group who could be working for people out to destabilize the government.

"I vehemently deny that these people are working for Malacaņang, they are probably destabilizers. I denounce their activities and appeal to the people not to believed them," he said.

Belmonte clarified that he is not discouraging people from attending the people power celebration. He said money is not being promised to those who will attend the celebrations.

He said the recruitment activities may be part of a plot by some people to embarrass the Arroyo administration by raising the hopes of the rally participants with the promise of cash.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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