MANILA, April 5, 2004
Alyansa ng Pag-asa standard-bearer Raul Roco is fit and ready for the daily rigors of the presidency, saying he is the most "well-rounded" of the presidential candidates in the May 10 election.

With the daily pressures of this election campaign, reporters are taking notice of Rocoís shrinking physique as he crisscrosses all over the country.

The indefatigable campaigner, who wakes up at four in the morning and starts his stumping as early as 6 a.m., claimed to have lost 30 pounds from a hefty 220 pounds before the campaign period began on Feb. 10.

"Iíve been cutting down since because I really wanted to lose weight," Roco said. "Then when the campaign proper came, I was down to 208 or 206. Youíve seen the pace. You sweat a lot, you walk a lot, and then you lose appetite. So now Iím down to 192. Iím happy with my weight now."

Such that the pants he used to wear are already too big for him, said Roco. "I had this tailored," he said, pointing to his pants. All his clothes now are brand new, he added.

"You can lose that much weight by walking a lot," Roco said, but adding: "The tummy is the easiest to increase, the hardest to decrease."

The "other trick" he said, is the Spanish folk wisdom of eating less but eating often.

"This lunch," said Roco, pointing to his plate of pancit, "is a light merienda for me. I eat in small doses."

He insists, however, that he does not follow any diet.

"You have breakfast, then you eat at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m. If theyíre all light, you donít gain weight. You donít have to stick to a diet," Roco explained.

Roco also said his blood pressure and cholesterol have been good.

Asked why his rivals do not seem to be losing weight, Roco replied: "Wala naman kasi silang ginagawa eh. Gaya ni ano, I think he comes out three times a week, si Fernando Poe. Si Gloria naman, palaging naka-helicopter at saka jet plane. (Because they donít exert much effort in campaigning. I think Fernando Poe comes out only three times a week. Gloria (Arroyo), on the other hand, always rides a helicopter and jet plane as she goes around).

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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