CEBU CITY, March 31, 2004
– With shouts of "Kusog FPJ," Cebuanos have come out openly in support leading presidential bet Fernando Poe Jr. and if the people on the streets that warmly greeted him and the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) bets were an indication, then the Queen City of the South is no longer GMA country.

In fact, FPJ is slowly gaining headway in this vote-rich province as various local leaders are silently shifting their support for the Philippine movie king despite the present edge of President Gloria Macapagal-arroyo in the Visayas.

This was disclosed by Senators Sergio Osmeña III who has openly declared his support for FPJ, first before some 400 local leaders at the residence of City Mayor Tommy Osmeña last Tuesday, and second when he joined the KNP bets’ sorties in Toledo and Talisay last Friday.

"Slowly but surely, FPJ is inching his way to GMA’s lead From a ratio of 6:1 last January in favor of GMA, the ratio is now 2.1 in the recent survey commissioned by an independent group," Osmeña said who hosted a luncheon meet for FPJ at the Café Laguna along Ayala Center attended by Margot Osmeña, wife of City Mayor Tommy Osmeña, and K4 Vice Gubernaturial bet Addy Sitoy, running mate of John Osmeña, and other local supporters.

"So who says, FPJ is without a major supporter in Cebu?" asked Osmeña who stressed that "Filipinos would rather have Susan Roces as First Lady than six more years of Jose Pidal, referring to First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo."

In expressing his support for FPJ, Senator Osmeña said the Fernando Poe Jr. will bring to Malacañang an untarnished record on graft and corruption, the much needed sincerity and political will and transparency very much wanting under the incumbent leadership as will as the heart that beats for the welfare and concern of ordinary Filipinos.

He added that Visayas folks must not forget about their favorite daughter Susan Roces whose elegance, reputation and integrity are beyond reproach.

"Definitely Susan Roces will not do a Jose Pidal as First Lady of the country," Osmeña said who was one of the leading movers of the Senate inquiry on the Pidal case and other controversial cases involving the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

In a related development, Boots Cadsawan, president of the Filipino for Peace Justice and Progress Movement (FPJPM), yesterday dared Mrs. Arroyo to face the various disqualification charges against her and must now refrain from instilling "fear on the minds of the people about an inevitable FPJ presidency."

Cadsawan said it is the other way around that Filipinos must fear another six years of graft-ridden Macapagal-Arroyo presidency symbolized by the likes of Jose Pidal and whose empty claims to progress and prosperity are enough reasons why she should not seek a fresh mandate.

He added that Mrs. Arroyo must instead consider seriously resigning or taking a leave of absence as petitioned before the Supreme Court by two Senatorial bets Boots Anson Roa and Amina Rasul for possible abuse of authority, wanton use of public funds, vote buying and electioneering.

"I would rather elect a high school drop out who knows his basic economics than a President who boasts having a PHD in Economics but has the reputation of turning her back on basic economic principles," Cadsawan said.

He stressed that "It’s not Mr. Fernando Poe Jr. who is running the country during the last three years but it’s Mrs. Arroyo.

For his part, Kableyan Nen Palaris Movement chairman Adonis Samson said that a landslide win for FPJ in the coming elections would give the country a fresh star and new hope.

"while it is true that the people are tired of too much politicking, this could be attributed to long time politicians who failed to delivers for the people. It is FPJ who is the country’s only and last best hope to united the country and people and not GMA as the claimed," Samson said.

He added that it is only FPJ who can provide fresh start to the Filipino people.

"The growing support for FPJ and the great enthusiasm on his candidacy in the countryside only shows that the people are entrusting their hopes and aspirations on FPJ to restore trust and confidence on government and to turn the country and economy around," Samson said. He also criticized the President claim that her administration was able to create more than three million jobs since he took over the government in January 2001, following Estrada’s ouster.

"We have a growing unemployment rate. Many companies are closing shops, displacing thousands of employees. How can the government claim that it is providing employment when he number of unemployment are growing each year," Samson said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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