NOLI-LOREN WORD WAR HEATS UP

NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR,  May 5, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Marichu Villanueva  ó  Sen. Noli de Castro deplored yesterday the move of his opposition rival in the vice presidential race to mislead voters by distributing erroneous "sample ballots."

De Castro accused, in particular, the camp of fellow Sen. Loren Legarda, vice presidential running mate of Koalisyon ng Nagkaka-isang Pilipino (KNP) standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr., of indicating in their sample ballots that she is the vice presidential running mate of President Arroyo.

De Castro denounced Legarda for allegedly allowing such political trickery to mislead voters, labeling it as "an act of desperation."

De Castro showed to The STAR yesterday a sample ballot showing the name of Mrs. Arroyo, the name of Legarda in the vice presidential slot and the names of the 12 senatorial candidates of the administrationís K-4.

De Castro said he got a copy of the sample ballot from his supporters in Real, Quezon and Iloilo City.

"Itís a desperate move," De Castro fumed.

The senator has been leading Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia surveys.

Asked by The STAR how he would neutralize the "sample ballots" allegedly being distributed by Legardaís camp, De Castro replied: "The Lakas sample ballots will neutralize them."

The sample ballot reportedly came out after De Castro and the President had already gotten the endorsement of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

De Castro though declined to confirm if he indeed has the blessings of the INC. But sources at the K-4 camp told The STAR yesterday that De Castro was already "invited" last Friday to meet with INC chieftain Ka Erdie Manalo.

"Of course, if that INC endorsement is positive, it will mean a lot and will have a big impact. But I believe there will be a big turnout of voters," De Castro pointed out.

De Castro was also endorsed by the INC when he ran and won in the May 2001 congressional elections.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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