OPPOSITION PLANS TO DISRUPT POLLS

MANILA,  May 7, 2004
 
(STAR)
The government accused the opposition yesterday of conspiring with elements of the Armed Forces to cause massive and violent disruption to next Monday’s elections.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the plot, code-named "Aklas Bayan," intends to spark civil unrest during Monday’s voting aimed at denying another Arroyo administration from ruling the country in the next six years.

"The plot consists of a coordinated action plan involving civilian, retired and active military operatives," Gonzales told a press conference.

"The objective is, it ends with a takeover," he said.

Citing intelligence reports, Gonzales, a senior member of the President’s Cabinet, said the alleged plot would include the opposition accusing the Arroyo administration of massive cheating in the May 10 elections with poll-watchers walking out of precincts. This would be followed by attempts to hold a massive street rally using the urban poor.

"They are going to simulate cheating to deny legitimacy to any Arroyo victory," Gonzales said. He even warned the plotters could even resort to bombings to sow anger at the government.

The civil unrest allegedly to be ignited is similar to the rioting by millions of supporters of deposed Joseph Estrada in 2001, Gonzales said.

In the press conference held at the compound of the National Security Council in Quezon City, Gonzales did not name names wanting to grab power behind "Aklas Bayan."

He said the government has the names of some of the plotters, including those from the military, but could not act until they carried out their plans.

He also said the plot has been confirmed by some opposition candidates in the May 10 polls who switched to the administration party.

"I would like to expose an ongoing plan of the political opposition to discredit the result of our elections through the use of propaganda, sabotage and violence," Gonzales told the media. — with Jaime Laude, AFP, Marvin Sy


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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