MANILA,  May 26, 2004
By Edu Punay  -  The country might once again witness the mammoth crowds that televangelist and Bangon Pilipinas Movement (BPM) standard-bearer Eduardo Villanueva managed to summon several times during his campaign for the presidency.

Collectively known as "Josiah’s army," Villanueva’s supporters will gather outside the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City while the votes for the country’s two highest posts are to be canvassed by a joint session of Congress.

"Let peace, sobriety and vigilance unite our people today as we await a most credible proclamation of the legitimate president-elect of the Philippines," Villanueva said in a statement.

He invited members of other religious sects to join his group in prayers and participate in the vigil.

His proclamation rally and miting de avance at the Quirino Grandstand at Manila’s Rizal Park on May 7 were the largest political rallies of the three-month long presidential campaign, with some estimates placing the crowd size in excess of one million.

But BPM campaign manager Dong Cucio clarified that they will not join the reported plans of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino to halt through massive protests the proclamation of President Arroyo.

Gringo linked anew to destabilization plot By Christina Mendez (Star) 05/26/2004

Opposition Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan was linked anew by the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday to a purported destabilization plot against the Arroyo administration.

PNP intelligence chief Director Robert Delfin told reporters the outgoing opposition lawmaker is also talking with senior leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) through intermediaries from groups affiliated with the communist movement. Honasan, however, strongly denied the allegation in a television interview last night, calling it "irresponsible." PNP chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. has apologized to him and offered to rectify the allegations, Honasan said. Delfin said Honasan is busy recruiting organizations and individuals to sustain mass actions that will highlight "no proclamation" plans on June 30. "Based on reports, he goes around talking to different groups because he is part of the (plan called) Aklas Bayan," Delfin said.

He said left-leaning groups have started initiating mass actions as part of Aklas Bayan, which will drag on until the formal proclamation of the winners in the presidential and vice presidential race.

Delfin said the PNP is monitoring the movements of some groups affiliated with the Left and the political opposition. "They are preparing (even) for the post-proclamation event but I doubt if they can hold an EDSA-type activity," Delfin said, referring to the threats of some groups to launch another "people power" revolt. Delfin also briefed the PNP top brass yesterday of the latest developments in the country’s threat board, revealing some multi-sectoral groups have the full support of the CPP-NPA. Delfin also revealed the associations of a staff member of the opposition Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) and its standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr.

The police official identified Susan Tagle, one of the KNP’s media liaison officers, as a former NPA leader. In linking Honasan to the left, Delfin cited in particular one Jess Fernandez, a former NPA cadre who "lied low" and later resurfaced in the mainstream by joining the staff of the opposition lawmaker. Fernandez has direct contacts with CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon and its founder Jose Ma. Sison, who is now in self-exile in the Netherlands, Delfin said.

Delfin also tagged the group Patriots, a self-proclaimed election watchdog, as also involved in the recruitment of people to join their protests on alleged election fraud. The group is led by Fr. Joe Dizon. "Patriots is a front organization of the CPP funded by the National Democratic Front, and composed of the people who were identified as members of the CPP, we have Fr. Dizon, Joe Ladlad (another supposed NPA cadre) and Jess Fernandez, linked with Senator Honasan," Delfin said.

Delfin, however, bared that the move to launch massive protests might be short-lived. He said some leaders of multi-sectoral organizations are pocketing the funds intended to sustain the protest actions. "Yung ibang pera, binubulsa nila," he said. PNP chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. emphasized the capability of some left-leaning multisectoral groups to launch destabilization activities against the government. "If you consider their affiliation, they can involve some armed component. They have the New People’s Army but we will see to it that they will not be able to do it," Ebdane said. Ebdane said the PNP is "monitoring" the activities of some groups identified with the Left.

"It is incumbent upon us to monitor them, not necessarily direct surveillance but we’ve got to know what they plan to do," he said.

It was not the first time Honasan was linked to destabilization efforts against the government. Honasan was among those accused in a failed power grab following the "Oakwood mutiny" staged by some 300 junior officers on July 27 last year. The former Army colonel was involved in several coup attempts against former President Corazon Aquino in the 1980s. Last weekend, military and police sources bared Aklas Bayan and assessed Honasan’s alleged participation in recruitment activities, particularly of the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Inc. (PGBI) Delfin claimed the PGBI, on Honasan’s orders, is also involved in the recruitment for mass actions.

Honasan, whose term in the Senate ends in June, has been nominated as representative for PGBI, which participated in the party-list elections last May 10. Honasan earlier told The STAR that any uprising at this time would be the last thing the country needs as it eagerly awaits the results of the national elections. But he pointed out that a clear mandate is needed by anybody who will emerge the winner in the recent presidential elections.

Honasan vowed he will support and work closely on the peace and reconciliation program of whoever will be declared the next president. But a ranking military official belied Honasan’s statements.

"Gringo speaks two tongues. He talks peace with the government and he does another behind our back," said the military official privy to the security briefing at Malacañang last Friday.

Ebdane, meantime, assured the public that the PNP is on top of the situation. "Overall, we are on top of the situation, and we are prepared... these destabilizers will have their day, we’re prepared to face them and I just hope that the citizenry also will be vigilant enough to report them," Ebdane said. Ebdane bolstered reports that the political opposition also tried to convince other presidential candidates, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Bro. Eddie Villanueva, to join the bandwagon of protests. "We know for a fact that they tried to convince some of the losing candidates but they were turned down," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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