MANILA,  April 26, 2004
By Sheila Crisostomo  - Alyansa ng Pag-asa standard-bearer Raul Roco is expected to make a turnaround when he comes back on Wednesday from a two-week medical treatment in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, Alyansa ng Pag-asa campaign manager, said yesterday Roco will rake in sympathies from voters upon his return.

"The sympathy will really come when he comes back," he said. "Thatís how it is. How can you gain sympathy if you are not visible? Even among movie actors, if you donít have any show for three months, the public tends to forget you."

Galvez-Tan said Alyansa ng Pag-asa would implement new campaign strategies after Roco arrives, but he refused to reveal them.

"Of course we have our special strategies and I will not, of course, divulge these because that will also mean the enemy will know it," he said.

"But we have our plans on what needs to be done in the remaining days of the campaign."

Galvez-Tan said that even if the base vote of Roco had temporarily eroded because of the uncertainty of the situation, the "Roco magic" would be back the moment he comes home.

"The victory playing up on the emotions leading to wholesale sympathy to votes and at the same time to pursue a possible coalition with other parties can still transpire in the next two weeks," he said.

There is still a chance of victory for Alyansa ng Pag-asa, he added.

Meanwhile, Alyansa senatorial candidate Melanio "Batas" Mauricio urged the public yesterday to wear red ribbons as a sign of welcome for Roco.

"Red ribbons signify the fighting stance of the Filipino people against fund misuse (by the Arroyo administration)," he said.

"All religious affiliation who still care for the future of this country should wear red ribbons or tie them in their homes."

The possibility of Alyansa ng Pag-asa and Bro. Eddie Villanuevaís Bangon Pilipinas party having a common presidential candidate hangs in the air as neither Roco nor Villanueva wants to give way.

Alyansa ng Pag-asa has also failed to release a medical bulletin on Roco.

However Galvez-Tan said the medical bulletin will come from Roco himself upon his arrival on Wednesday.

"But the bottom line here is Raul Roco will come back and campaign," he said. "The pain is completely gone. He is up and about and bubbly."

Roco went to Houston last April 13 to seek confirmation and treatment of the prostate cancer that Filipino doctors had diagnosed him as suffering from.

He leaves Texas today and is expected to arrive in Manila Wednesday.

But Rocoís sudden departure cost him his ranking in the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations during the period of April 10-17.

Roco was overtaken by Sen. Panfilo Lacson in 3rd place, while President Arroyo topped the survey with 35.3 percent, four percentage points ahead of Fernando Poe Jr., who got 30.8 percent.

The survey showed that Villanueva ranked 5th with four percent, while Eddie Gil got .05 percent, with 10.9 percent of those surveyed still undecided as to who they would vote as president.

However, Alyansa ng Pag-asa vice-presidential candidate Herminio Aquino said the survey does not reflect the actual reaction of the public on Rocoís departure.

"The survey was conducted from (April 10-17), he left in the middle of that," he said. "I donít know the ramifications of that time frame, maybe a better one (survey) should be done one week after (he returns).

Aquino celebrated his 55th birthday yesterday.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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