PALACE: ITALY BLACKOUT NOT A BAD OMEN

MALACANANG, September 30, 2003  (STAR) The lights all going out does not a bad omen make.

Malacañang yesterday dismissed insinuations that the power outage that swept through Italy during President Arroyo’s visit to the Vatican was a "sign" that she should not run in the 2004 elections.

"The Palace cannot accept the claim that the power outage that engulfed Italy while the President was in the Vatican was a sign from heaven for her not to run for the presidency," Presidential Deputy Spokesman Ricardo Saludo said.

He said he found it very amusing that some people seem to know how God would "communicate" with the President.

All of Italy was plunged into darkness after two nuclear power plants shut down for still unknown reasons early last Sunday morning. Such power outages are unusual in Italy.

As a result of the blackout, the President and her official party cut their visit to the Holy See short and canceled a scheduled meeting with the Filipino community in Rome.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier announced that she is seeking "divine guidance" in deciding whether to join the presidential derby or to hold true to her Dec. 30, 2002 vow that she would not seek a full six-year term in the May 2004 elections.

The ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party announced that it is already set to nominate Mrs. Arroyo next week as the party’s standard-bearer for next year’s national elections. — Mayen Jaymalin


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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