MANILA, April 6, 2004
Disqualified presidential aspirant Eddie Gil will ask the Supreme Court to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to retain his name in the list of candidates while his appeal is pending before the high tribunal.

In a statement, Gil said his case is similar to that of senatorial candidate Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. in the November 1967 elections, whose name was not stricken off the Comelec list while the Supreme Court was studying the disqualification case against him.

"It will be recalled that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ninoy Aquino, who was later declared fit and qualified to be a duly elected senator after the November 1967 elections," read the statement.

Gil, standard-bearer of the Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa (PIBID), said he was a victim of "trial by hearsay publicity," and that the Comelec was strongly influenced by a series of adverse publicity when it ruled to disqualify him from the presidential race.

"The Comelec itself had already manifested its bias even when it first issued its disqualification ruling against (me)," read the statement.

"This was apparent when the Comelec was quoted in media reports as having cited certain (of my) shortcomings such as (my) alleged issuance of bouncing checks in Cagayan de Oro City, where (I) held the first salvo of the PIBID campaign," it said.

The VIP Hotel and Barangay Manokan restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City had issued certifications that he had already paid his bills in cash, and that he had no remaining unpaid bills, he added.

Gil said Elizabeth Samson, PIBID vice chairwoman and treasurer, should not be blamed for carefully examining requests for payments like those from jeepney drivers because there were attempts to present "padded" bills to him.

"Some dishonest individuals wanted to be paid for the alleged hiring of many jeepneys which were not actually used," read the statement.

"So, is it wrong for the treasurer to require them to list down the plate numbers, the drivers’ names and drivers’ license numbers for counterchecking? Madam Samson is in charged of the party’s funds and is, of course, accountable for them."

Gil accused some journalists in Cagayan de Oro City of trying to extort huge amounts of money from him in the guise of donations.

"It was the height of blackmail," read the statement. "They resorted to concocting various issues against me, including the alleged payments of bouncing checks."

Gil said his lawyers are in the process of finalizing libel suits against some "unethical and irresponsible" media practitioners who had put him and the PIBID to public ridicule.

"Their propensity to publish or air adverse reports about me and my party without giving me the opportunity to present my side and deliberately distort news stories is by itself an indication of their evil designs," read the statement.

"They have been trying to sway public opinion against me. They want to alienate the electorate from me. They were a major factor in the Comelec’s biased decision."

He would not have minded if some media outlets had attacked him regarding certain features of his platform of government, he added.

Meanwhile, Gil said he would pursue the disqualification case he had filed before the Comelec against presidential candidate Eddie Villanueva.

"It was Villanueva who should be declared the nuisance candidate since (I) filed (my) candidacy much earlier than him, and that the Bangon Pilipinas bet was using the nickname ‘Eddie,’" he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved