PING-FPJ COMBINATION CAN BEAT GMA-KABAYAN TANDEM, SAYS LACSON

MANILA, March 13, 2004
 
(STAR) By Jose Rodel Clapano - They can still make sweet music together.

Independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said a team-up with Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. is still the best way to defeat the administration tandem of President Arroyo and Sen. Noli de Castro.

Lacson made this statement during a brief break in his campaign sortie in Quezon City, where he was welcomed warmly by vendors in the Balintawak and Muñoz public markets.

"As far as I am concerned, the perfect combination is Ping-Poe," Lacson said. "If (Poe) slides down to vice president, he will beat De Castro and I will defeat the rest of the presidential candidates."

KNP campaign manager Sen. Vicente Sotto III refused to comment on Lacson’s statements, saying only Poe can speak about a possible unification with the Lacson camp.

"Such talks or statements on unification are left to (Poe)," Sotto said. "When some of us speak on the matter, we are being misinterpreted."

Poe’s spokesman, Sorsogon Rep. Francis Escudero, said nobody was authorized to speak about reported efforts to unite the opposition. "Our belief is that the talks might not prosper if others would talk about them," Escudero said.

Lacson said he and Poe are still setting a one-on-one meeting to determine what particular formula they would use to finally unify the opposition. However, Lacson said he definitely will not slide down to vice president.

According to Lacson, an emissary of Poe called him up over the phone the other night as he was en route to Manila from Cebu City via helicopter. The emissary, Lacson said, told him Poe is now willing to talk about "unifying the opposition."

"We will still talk, but there is no clear agenda yet," he said. "The schedule is sooner than April. The emissary is a common friend of mine and Poe. We will play (it) by ear, but my mind is clear about my direction and that is I will continue to run for president.

"We are fixing the time (Poe and I) are in Manila," he said. "I will be in Manila from (Friday) to Tuesday next week."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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