SUSAN  ROCES:  LET US NOT PREJUDGE CONGRESS  VOTE COUNT

MANILA,  May 25, 2004
(STAR)
By Delon Porcalla  -  It was her first time inside the halls of Congress, and she was there not only out of vigilance but to "learn" a thing or two on the mandate of the legislative body.

But actress Susan Roces, wife of opposition presidential hopeful and actor Fernando Poe Jr., fervently believes that her husband has won over President Arroyo.

A confident Roces visited the House of Representatives yesterday to observe the proceedings in the scheduled canvassing of votes.

"I know in my heart that he (Poe) won," she told Congress reporters. "Do you have a headline now?"

If Poe wins, Roces will be the first movie actress to become a first lady. But exit polls and quick count tallies show this may not happen as Mrs. Arroyo continues to lead Poe, triggering allegations of electoral fraud from the opposition.

The soft-spoken Roces, whose real name is Jesusa Sonora, refused to categorically state if indeed there was massive cheating as claimed by Poeís camp against the administration.

Instead, she stressed that Congress should be given the chance to do its job of canvassing the votes and to officially proclaim the winners for president and vice president.

"Let us not prejudge the proceedings. We have yet to see their work and Iím here to observe," Roces said.

"The reason why Iím here is because I want to learn how things are done. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she added.

While she claimed to be not aware of any protest action initiated by the political opposition, the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP), Roces nonetheless warned lawmakers against railroading or proclaiming a false winner.

"Do not belittle the minds of the masses," she warned.

She refused to say, however, how far the KNP would go, whether charges of electoral fraud would result in another "people power" uprising.

"It depends," was all Roces said.

Roces was accompanied by actor Richard Gomez and former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairwoman Armida Siguion-Reyna. Armidaís son, film director Carlitos and his wife, Bibeth Orteza, were also in the gallery to observe the proceedings.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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