LACSON WILL NOT CONCEDE UNTIL LAST BALLOT IS COUNTED

MANILA,  May 15, 2004
(STAR)
By Jose Rodel Clapano  -  Independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday that he will not concede until the last ballot is counted officially by the Senate and the House of Representatives, which will convene as the National Board of Canvassers on May 24.

In a telephone interview, Lacson also denied receiving P150 million from the administration to concede to President Arroyo.

Lacson said that a certain Joseph Sy, a public relations officer of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), was responsible for spinning the allegation through text message that he was paid by the administration.

"Joseph Sy was the one feeding these lies in text messages. But itís not true. They cannot blind me with money. Iíve been through a lot of these and even the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) has offered to me money to slide down but I did not accept it. I will not concede until the last drop of my blood. I will not concede until the last ballot is counted," Lacson said.

His paralegal team, he said, is still manning votes for him.

Mrs. Arroyo is leading by more than 100,000 votes against her closest rival, Fernando Poe Jr., in the partial and unofficial quick count being conducted by the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel). Lacson is trailing Mrs. Arroyo and Poe.

Lacson said Makati Rep. Agapito Aquino, secretary-general of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, and Iloilo Rep. Rolex Suplico agreed during their meeting yesterday to join him in resigning from the LDP.

"I met with Reps. Aquino and Suplico this morning and they told me that wherever I go, they will go with me," he said.

"We are entertaining the idea of creating a movement that will focus on our advocacy against graft and corruption. Nobody can buy me," Lacson stressed.

He disclosed that the fight against "Jose Pidal" will continue even if he loses the election.

"I will never stop my fight against graft and corruption, whether it is against Pidal, the person, or Pidal, the symbol," Lacson said.

He denied rumors though that he will be joining the administration camp. "I will still be an opposition. But I will not align with group of Senator Angara," Lacson said.

He explained that Angara, president of the LDP, has long killed the party, particularly when he surrendered its independence to the KNP.

"It is only me and Angara who are left in the LDP because we are the only LDP members who are elected," Lacson said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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