MANILA,  May 7, 2004
By BEN R. ROSARIO -  Staunch supporters of Alyansa ng Pag-asa standard-bearer Raul Roco yesterday assailed their former political allies for succumbing to traditional politics of money and patronage, and even indiscriminately dragging the names of their principled colleagues in a shameless show of “turncoatism.”

Reform Oriented Citizens Organization (R.O.C.O.) secretary-general Jose Cabochan expressed indignation that his name and the names of other R.O.C.O. pillars are included in a one-page paid advertisement calling themselves "ex-Roco allies" who are latching on the so-called GMA bandwagon.

"This is falsehood. I’m still a firm believer in what Raul Roco is fighting for – honest and credible government. I’m not for GMA," Cabochan said.

He decried the dirty tactics being employed by Malacañang to undermine the unwavering spirit of Roco’s supporters and volunteers who are campaigning relentlessly during the homestretch of the campaign period. "This government is getting desperate. It is resorting to dirty tactics by poaching our camp. They must have known that we are leading in this race," Cabochan said.

In recent weeks, several Alyansa senatorial candidates have received bribe offers to switch parties. But all attempts were rebuffed.

Cabochan added that many of names that appeared in the unsigned manifesto were not even active members of R.O.C.O.

"I’m calling on my colleagues (in the politics) to be truthful and respect our principles. Raul doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment from colleagues like them," said former Bulacan congressman Cabochan. Bulacan has one of the biggest voter populations in the country.

Two other R.O.C.O. officers – Ronaldo Cosalan of Benguet and Jojo Domingo of Isabela – are also surprised that their names are included in the unsigned manifesto. They issued their full and unequivocal support for Roco who, they believe, is the best choice for the May 10 elections.

Roco is still backed by many principled political allies, including Hermie Aquino (Tarlac), Edno Joson (Nueva Ecija), Edcel Lagman (Albay), Tony Aquino (Quezon City), Jojo Beltran (Manila), Toby Javier (Antique), Lally Laurel (Batangas), Emy Lingad (Pampanga), Al Lopez (Bukidnon), and Lorna Verano-Yap (Pasay City).

Amid the harvest season of political turncoats, Cabochan said it is for the best that the group has separated the chaff from the grains. These opportunists – who are easily swayed by personal interests — are likened to the gospel of the sower and the seeds. They are crops whose seeds were sown on rocky places and were easily taken away by Satan."

Political leaders loyal to Alyansa ng Pag-asa standard bearer Raul Roco yesterday decried former allies who jumped ship to the Arroyo camp for allegedly participating in a black propaganda scheme that dragged the "names of their principled colleagues in a shameless show of turncoatism".

Led by former Bulacan Rep. Jose Cabochan, secretary general of the Reform Oriented Citizens Organization, several former congressmen who remained staunch backers of Roco chided their colleagues for taking part in the scheme to include their names as among ex-Roco allies now pushing for the candidacy of incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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