ROCO'S  CAMP  TAKING  SOBER  ROAD  ON  POLL  FRAUD  ISSUE

MANILA,  May 13, 2004
(STAR)
By Sheila Crisostomo  -  Raul Roco and his Alyansa ng Pag-asa party would rather stop President Arroyo’s proclamation through court action than join protest rallies if she is found to have won Monday’s elections by cheating.

Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, Alyansa ng Pag-asa secretary- general, said they would instead gather evidence of massive cheating and file a case against Mrs. Arroyo before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"We are not joining any rally," she said. "There are remedies under the law. If the people want to protest, they are saying there are EDSA 3 or EDSA 4, let the people protest."

Kapunan said Roco, who has always been a man of the law, would rather charge Mrs. Arroyo with violating the Omnibus Election Code after they have gathered enough evidence.

"Let there be rule of law," she said. "The Alyansa is poised to stop the proclamation of Mrs. Arroyo if it finds out that she manipulated the results of the elections."

Leaders of Alyansa ng Pag-asa met yesterday to assess the just concluded elections, she added. Kapunan said under the Omnibus Election Code, the proclamation of a candidate could be stopped if there is strong evidence of election violation.

"(We will sue) whoever is responsible for the election offense," she said.

The law states that candidates could never be proclaimed if there is a valid election protest against them, she added.

Kapunan said they have already started documenting evidence of fraud in Monday’s national and local elections. "We cannot say there is fraud or cheating unless we have evidence," she said.

"Our lawyers are now in the field gathering evidence. They are trying to find out where there is vote-buying, vote-padding or any other forms of cheating."

Kapunan asked people who have evidence of massive cheating to come out and help Alyansa ng Pag-asa get justice.

Last Tuesday, Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. accused the administration of massive electoral fraud.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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