POTOTAN, ILOILO, April 14, 2004
Sen. Edgardo Angara was told yesterday to go on exile to stop the "chaos" he is supposedly wreaking within the opposition.

"My advice to Edgardo Angara is to banish himself either to Batanes or to Tawi-Tawi and stay there until election time," said Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla, lone senatorial candidate of independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

"We will invite him during inauguration day. He can be assured of that."

Padilla likened Angara to the comic character, Dennis the Menace, who was the epitome of a mischievous seven-year-old kid.

"There is a saying that the fruit of the pudding is in the eating," he said.

"And so what is that fruit? Wherever Angara goes there are many serious problems created and these problems are beyond repair. That is why the problem of the (Lacson and FPJ) camps is Edgardo Angara."

Padilla said the president of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), who along with Sen. Vicente Sotto III convinced Fernando Poe Jr. to run for president under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP), has been known to be a source of "chaos" since he was president of the University of the Philippines during the Marcos regime.

"The LDP has split because of Angara," he said.

"In fact, I have access to some members of the KNP, and they are saying that their problem is Angara. Even when he was in the UP, there are many who are getting angry with him because of his autocratic and dictatorial style. That is why, until there is Edgardo Angara, there will be no unity in the opposition."

All organizations handled by Angara had ended up in "chaos," just like the LDP splitting into two factions, he added.

Padilla said unification talks between Poe and Lacson will not push through if the KNP does not get rid of Angara.

"If he can be retained, the first thing to come is there will be no more unification talks between the camps of Senator Lacson and Poe," he said.

"It will not move. If he will be retained by the KNP, salamat (thanks), because they have inherited all our problems. Our problem, including Butz Aquino with Angara have been transferred to them (KNP). Thank you, KNP. Good luck, KNP," Padilla said.

He said he was offended by Angara’s statement that he and Lacson are "childish and bully."

Meanwhile, pro-administration congressman Prospero Pichay of Surigao del Norte said yesterday opposition leaders are trying to convince Lacson to withdraw from the presidential race and slide down as Poe’s vice presidential running mate.

"There is now a frantic attempt by the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino to see Senator Lacson back into the fold," he said in a statement.

Pichay said Poe’s handlers know that a common opposition standard-bearer is the "only chance" to defeat President Arroyo, who has an enormous political machinery.

"This was one of the crucial findings concluded by participants in a series of marathon meetings leading up to the Holy Week by opposition stalwarts on how to revive the flagging campaign of Poe," he said.

Lacson knows that he would be a better president than Poe and that his backers among Filipino-Chinese businessmen fear a Poe presidency, Pichay added. –Jose Rodel Clapano, Delon Porcalla

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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