MANILA, March 29, 2004
By Paolo Romero - Some 100 congressmen, mayors and governors from the administration Lakas-Christian and Muslim Democrats (Lakas—CMD), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the Liberal Party (LP) are expected to announce today their support for the presidential bid of Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr.

This was disclosed yesterday by KNP campaign manager Sen. Vicente Sotto III and NPC Rep. Harry Angping of Manila, who said Poe will address the administration "defectors" after they issue their manifesto of support in simple ceremonies at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan.

"This will be a show of support from at least 100 political leaders from NPC, Lakas and the LP that will boost the candidacy of FPJ," Sotto said in a telephone interview.

Angping said about 60 leaders and key members from the NPC, 10 from Lakas and about five from the LP are among those who will express their support for Poe.

They include South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance—Fuentes, NPC Rep. Darlene Custodio of South Cotabato, Lakas Rep. Jaime Lopez of Manila, LP Rep. Harlin Abayon of Northern Samar and Lakas Rep. Jacinto Paras of Negros Occidental.

"These will just be the first of many expressions of support for FPJ in the coming weeks," Angping told The STAR.

He said the defection would be a big blow to the candidacy of President Arroyo since the NPC and LP have an alliance with the ruling Lakas—CMD.

He slammed the administration for using pork barrel funds and local government allocations as bait to hook congressmen, mayors and governors into supporting Mrs. Arroyo.

Angping said that in his district, where he is running for re-election, he has experienced harassment from the camp of his administration rival, councilor Miles Roces.

He claimed that demolition teams had been sent to tear down the barangay halls of barangay chairmen supporting his candidacy.

Angping also announced that Poe will make his first foray in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila, tomorrow to drum up support for his candidacy in the Chinese community, which is reportedly going all-out for his rival, Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Poe’s sortie will begin with a mid-morning meeting with Angping. Poe will then walk the streets of Chinatown. The sortie will conclude with a luncheon meeting with representatives of Chinese trade federations, and family and sports associations at the President restaurant on Ongpin street.

Angping admitted that Lacson holds sway in the Chinese community but the KNP standard-bearer is "fast gaining support."

"These groups will eventually support those who are winnable," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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