Manila, June 21, 2003 (MALAYA) BY ERNESTO MACEDA - WHILE Mike Arroyo is all for President Gloria's running in 2004, the Arroyo children are for their mother's not running.

Luli Macapagal Arroyo wishes that her mother pursue her candidacy for secretary general of the United Nations. Luli adds that if her mother desires to run again, she will be only 61 in 2010.

Meanwhile, ranking Lakas officials have approached the NPC chairman, Gov. Jun Dy of Isabela offering to support Danding Cojuangco in the belief that PGMA will stick to her December 30 announcement.

Top Malacañang officials now say that the media ploy on PGMA's change of mind is designed to prevent her from being a lame duck and to boost the morale of Lakas leaders.

A scenario may develop where 2004 will be a two-way fight between Danding Cojuangco and Raul Roco.


The list of attendees at the asalto organized by Gretchen O. Cojuangco and Rio Diaz Cojuangco for Danding Cojuangco shows the depth of support for Danding cutting across all parties.

LDP president Ed Angara and LDP minority leader Tito Sotto were in attendance. The Lakas had Reps. Jacinto Paras (Negros Oriental) and Prospero Nograles (Davao City). The League of Governors was represented by Governors Tomas Joson (Nueva Ecija) Jun Dy (Isabela) Ding Roman (Bataan), Apeng Yap (Tarlac) and former Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares. Former Quezon City Mayor Mel Mathay (Lakas) and General Santos City Mayor Adel Antonino (PMP) were also present.

The House of Representatives was further represented by former Speaker and Mrs. Noli Fuentebella (Cam. Sur), Rep. and Mrs. Harry Angping (Manila, 3rd District) and ex-Rep. Baby Asistio (Caloocan City).

Douglas Lu Ym and Felimon Suarez led a big delegation of Cebu businessmen joining transportation magnate Pepito Alvarez, Danny Laogan, Honey Boy Palanca, Melo Santiago and Ramon Abad in animated conversation asking Danding to run.

Danding expressed confidence the country's economy can, with "the proper leadership" be turned around in three years. He indicated he will make his final decision on running for the Presidency by the first week of August. He plans to consult five big personalities upon his return to Manila.


Washington whispers: The Filipino-American community in the US capital was not too happy with President Arroyo's State Visit. At the dinner at the Capitol Hilton, Secret Service prevented them from approaching or having photo-ops with the President. Besides, the President was two hours late and everybody was hungry by the time she arrived. Chair Irene Natividad delivered a long speech too.

Embassy officers doubt very much whether the $4.2 billion aid package will materialize. Even the $130 million military package is subject to Congress approval and is dependent on programming and fund availability.

The June 12 Independence Day reception was held at the J. W. Marriott hotel but only a handful of low-level Washington VIPs attended.

The Washington Post costs only 35 cents. The front pages were still dominated by reports of continued fighting with Saddam loyalists, deaths of US soldiers in Iraq and the review of Sen. Hillary Clinton's book "Living History" which was sold out at bookstores and Price Club outlets. Half a million copies have been sold.

President Bill Clinton earned $9.5 million for 60 speeches delivered in 2002. Giving honorariums to guest speakers is a practice we don't have in the Philippines.

Sen. Hillary Clinton and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi are touted as potential presidential candidates in 2008, the first possible woman president.

Marinduqueños from all over the US will attend a big dinner in Washington D.C. on August 19. Celso Mataac is leading the organizers.

Bing Branigan of the Philippine Mail reports serious infighting among officers in the Philippine Embassy. Among those trying to lord it over career officers are boys of Sikatuna Secretary Bobby Romulo.

Long time Embassy driver Daniel Olea has secured a green card courtesy of his US citizen wife who hails from Colombia. He gave a big blowout for embassy personnel upon his retirement. He is now a preventive maintenance supervisor for Westin Hotels and is driving a new Toyota Forunner.

Former Senate assistant Badette Torres is with the Egyptian Embassy. DFA FSSO Babes Marfil Ramiscal has joined the IMF while husband Rudy is with United Airlines.


New York whispers: Fil-Ams here are talking about the attempt to sell the East 66th townhouse and the Philippine Center on 5th Avenue. They say that Ambassador Albert del Rosario, Consul Gen. Lingling Lacanlale and a certain Jimmy Gonzales are pushing for the sale.

The East 66th townhouse refurbished first by Imelda Marcos and later by Ambassador Felipe Mabilangan is valued at $25 million. I was told however, that the appraisal submitted was for $17 million only. They are expecting Malacañang protocol officer Cecil Rebong to replace Lingling Lacanlale as consul general in New York in October.

Limo drivers were surprised to see DFA Secretary Blas Ople use awheelchair and an oxygen tank at his attendance at UN meetings. They are surprised he is still a heavy smoker.

Sen. Loren Legarda stayed for two weeks at the trendy Pierre Hotel on 5th Avenue. She attended three Independence Day parades in New York City, Passaic, New Jersey and Jersey City.

More and more Filipino youths are involved in crimes and drugs in the New York area. There is talk also of several Filipinos convicted for securities fraud or embezzlement from their companies. Six New Jersey Filipinos were arrested recently for drug dealing.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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