MANILA, April 17, 2004
A pro-administration congressman believes that Fernando Poe Jr.s "lack of leadership" drove 11 staffers to resign from the media bureau of the opposition Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP).

"The KNP ranks are already being abandoned by its principled members who have awakened to the indispensable fact that Poe is simply unfit to be president," Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay said in a statement.

"He has promised to be the nations unifier, to end the bitter political bickering, solve the decades-long Muslim and communist insurgency, and to attract more investments and generate jobs for our people.

"But he cannot even unite his own party and the opposition, how can he claim to be equal to these monumental tasks facing the next president," Pichay said. He said knew the resigned KNP media staff as "principled" people who would easily leave a candidate whose policies ran counter to their standards.

"For them, money is not the primary consideration, they will support a candidate because they believe in his character and qualifications," he said.

"It is very telling that Poes own gatekeepers of the truth have abandoned him, most likely because they can no longer bear that the public is being misled," Pichay said.

After the resignations, the KNPs name should be changed to "Koalisyon ng Nagkakalasang Pilipino," he added.

Meanwhile, a former supporter of Poe said yesterday he abandoned the KNP standard-bearer because he is surrounded by "traditional politicians" like Senators Edgardo Angara and Vicente Sotto III.

"When I learned that there are traditional politicians behind FPJs running for president, I knew at once that nothing will happen to the Filipinos," said Kenneth Cabuang, a former affiliate of the FPJ for President Movement.

On the other hand, a partisan of President Arroyo said the voters should look at the background and experience of a candidate before choosing him.

"It does not really matter if he is popular," said Manny Amador, referring to Poe.

"Being popular is not a good reason to become president. People should consider the experience. I am certainly not for FPJ, and I am not for a police state, not Ping Lacson," he said, referring the other opposition presidential candidate, Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Cabuang was present at the launching yesterday of the Make It Strong Movement, an Internet-based organization seeking to "educate" the public about voting wisely.

Amador, spokesman for the group, said its aim is to "enlighten" undecided voters on how to choose the best presidential candidate.

Amador rejected speculations that his group, founded last year, is being funded by the government.

The Make It Strong Movement has under its umbrella the Katipunan at Sandigan ng mga Pilipino, Pederasyon ng Maralitang Tagalunsod ng Makati, Kabataan para sa Kaunlaran ng Kinabukasan, Magic 5 Brotherhood Inc., Metro Organized Vendors Enterprises-Phils., Quezon City Chapter of Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and several labor and youth groups. Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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