LAKAS: GLORIA IS STILL BEST BET

Manila, June 5, 2003 -- President Arroyo remains the Lakas-CMD's best 
choice as standard bearer in 2004, according to Heherson Alvarez, 
presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers.

He told PHNO editor Sol Vanzi this morning that the party would talk to 
Arroyo when she returns from Japan late this week to inform her of the 
party's sentiments.

Alvarez, who is also Lakas spokesman and vice president for Luzon, added 
that the party believes in Arroyo's dedication and her capability to 
improve the lives of Filipinos.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Arroyo has not changed her mind 
since she announced on Dec. 30, 2002 that she would not be a candidate next 
year.

He said Arroyo was aware of the decisions reached during the Lakas-CMD 
meeting last Monday. "There seems to be no indication there has been a 
change in the stand of the President," he said.

Bunye said Arroyo remains firm in her decision to name the presidential 
candidate that she would support later this year. I don't think this (not 
running) would result in the break-up of the (Lakas) party."

Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. said Arroyo must make a final decision by next 
month to give Lakas ample time to decide on its standard bearer.

He said that while Arroyo has repeatedly denied that she was reconsidering 
her Dec. 30 announcement, the possibility that she would change her mind is 
not remote.

"Besides, she enjoys the equity of the incumbent ... she is the incumbent 
president of the country and therefore and she would be a priority once she 
reconsiders her position," Magsaysay said.

He also said Lakas-CMD would come up this month with an initial list of 
candidates for senators which would initially include reelectionists Robert 
Barbers, Renato Cayetano, Robert Jaworski Sr. and Loren Legarda-Leviste, 
Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and Interior Secretary Joey Lina.

The next six senatorial bets would be known next month, he added.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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