CEBU CITY, March 28, 2004
By Nikko Dizon - Former Press Secretary Rodolfo Reyes is not promising any dramatic changes in the Koalisyon ng Nagkakakisang Pilipino (KNP) now that he is definitely staying on as its media bureau chief.

But Reyes told reporters yesterday that the KNP media bureau, under his command, will "gradually solve the problem of media getting access" to KNP standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr.

"I’m still thinking as a working journalist while being media bureau chief," Reyes said. "I know that if there’s no access (to the candidate) then that’s the problem."

Reyes was a journalist before he joined the campaign of ousted President Joseph Estrada and, later, the KNP. He helped shape the concept for the dailies Manila Standard, which was originally printed in the semi-tabloid size, and the defunct afternoon broadsheet The Evening Paper.

The KNP media bureau chief said he his hoping to arrange a press conference with Poe soon and has yet to suggest this to Poe, though he is confident Poe will be receptive to the idea.

He said Poe "wants to talk about issues," but wants to do his talking directly to the people, which is why the KNP is making the most of Poe’s radio interviews.

Reyes encountered problems within the KNP organization that brought him to the brink of resignation. The administration Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan para sa Kinabukasan (K-4) reportedly grabbed the opportunity to whisk Reyes out of the Poe camp with a P5-million offer and the possibility of being given his old portfolio of chief of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, Taiwan — and Reyes said he "will not deny that."

The K-4 camp has denied making any such offers to Reyes, but President Arroyo’s campaign spokesman, Michael Defensor, said the K-4 would be welcome to join the administration coalition.

Reyes told The STAR that the offers to bolt the KNP and join K-4 were made by emissaries, adding that the monetary offer was higher than P5 million. "It’s a lo," he said, "you will not believe it."

He practically admitted that he was in conflict with other KNP leaders when he said he was used to "all the intrigues and backstabbing" in politics, having walked the corridors of power twice.

"It’s worse in Malacañang," he said. "But, even before the campaign period, you can expect some sniping. Even before they get to the corridors of power, there is already backstabbing."

Reyes also said the Estrada campaign in 1998 was a lot more organized than the KNP campaign. "It’s also because (Estrada) already ran for vice president, giving his people more experience," he said adding that there is now "much coordination now with the KNP leaders, as far as the KNP is concerned."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved