POE EXPECTS CHAOS IF MAY POLLS CANCELED

MANILA, March 31, 2004
 
(STAR)
Opposition presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. warned yesterday of chaos if elections are not held on May 10.

"Sana matuloy yang election dahil magkakagulo kung hindi matuloy," he told reporters.

The standard-bearer of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) was reacting to a newspaper report that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) fears that the polls may not push through for lack of paraphernalia.

"We’re not sure if that (report) is confirmed," he said.

On the other hand, pro-administration reelectionist Sen. Rodolfo Biazon vowed yesterday to file an impeachment case against Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and the six commissioners if they fail to hold the May 10 national and local elections.

"There is no reason for the Comelec not to pursue the national elections," he said. "I will lead the filing of the impeachment case against Comelec Chairman Abalos and his six commissioners if there will be no elections in May."

Biazon said the Comelec can only justify a failure of elections on any of the following reasons:

• In case of war.

• Widespread rebellion.

• Total breakdown of law and order.

• If Congress failed to fund the elections.

The Constitution says: "Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the senators and members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May," Biazon added.

Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Resurreccion Borra said it would be a "black day" for the poll body if a failure of elections occurs.

Borra said only seven percent or 140,000 out of the two million election forms have been delivered to the Comelec’s packing and shipping committee for distribution nationwide.

But re-electionist Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said Borra should not alarm the public, and instead urged the Comelec to work double time in preparing for the May 10 elections.

"Commissioner Borra should be the last person to raise the specter of failure of elections because the conduct of elections is essentially a Comelec function," he said.

"Instead of issuing such alarmist statement, Comelec should take every step to ensure that the elections are held as scheduled," he added.

Pimentel said Borra’s revelations about bungled poll preparations show that Abalos was not telling the "entire picture" when he assured the nation that everything was on track.

"The Comelec’s weaknesses can be blamed to a certain extent on its subservient attitude towards Malacañang, instead of asserting its independence," he said. — Nikko Dizon, Jose Rodel Clapano


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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