BRO. EDDIE ON GUARD AGAINST POLL FRAUD

MANILA,  May 10, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Evelyn Macairan  -  Bangon Pilipinas Movement (BPM) presidential standard-bearer Bro. Eddie Villanueva is ready to "fight fraud and to win convincingly and in a credible manner."

"Poll watchers and their alternates are in place, communication systems have been tested and ready, and most importantly, we are confident that Filipinos will vote for change by the millions," he said.

Villanueva, together with members of his family, will vote this morning at poll precinct 121 of the Bunlo Elementary School in Barangay Bunlo in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Founder of the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) movement, Villanueva showed last Thursday that despite his poor showing in surveys of the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, he remains a force to reckon with.

In a scene reminiscent of 1986 people power revolt, hundreds of thousands of people, clad in yellow T-shirts, flooded the Quirino Grandstand last May 6 for what was arguably the biggest political rally of the 2004 elections.

Villanueva said that today’s vote is but the "final phase of Operation Red Sea, the great undertaking of the 3.2 million-strong Josiah’s Army," as the evangelist calls his core supporters.

"All systems go, and we repose our trust in God and the vigilant, freedom-loving Filipino people," he said. "Sans fraud, sans violence, we dare say that votes for change will win in the polls."

But BPM spokesman Luis Sison was more businesslike in his assessment of the problems facing the party, as he urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to "make it crystal clear" that all votes for "Eddie" or "Bro. Eddie" should be counted in Villanueva’s favor.

"We ask (Comelec Chairman Benjamin) Abalos to make sure that his advisory dated May 7 and his published pronouncement on GMA Channel 7," he said, "be disseminated as widely as possible in order to avert confusion and stop the possible loss of votes for Villanueva."

Sison said that BPM’s poll watchers will be assisted by more than 1,000 volunteer lawyers nationwide.

Expected to vote with Villanueva this morning in Bulacan is his wife, Adoracion, known as "Sister Dory" to JIL members.

A founding pastor of the JIL like her husband, Sister Dory celebrated Mother’s Day last night by leading a religious service at the JIL Church in Bunlo, where she said a special prayer in honor of Filipino mothers.

"It has been quite some time since I last went to the pulpit and preached the Good News to our brothers and sisters. We were all so busy with the hectic campaign schedules of Bro. Eddie, and I had to attend to his needs," she said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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