MANILA,  May 29, 2004
By Marichu Villanueva  -  Malacañang yesterday scored the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) for insisting that its presidential standard bearer, movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., won over President Arroyo by as much as one million votes in the May 10 elections.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that such "misleading" declarations by the opposition were the precise reasons why administration officials of the Koalisyon ng Karanasan at Katapatan para sa Kinabukasan (K-4) came out with their own press briefing to counter Poe’s claims of victory over Mrs. Arroyo.

"It was impossible for Poe to have won because the KNP and K-4 both have copies of the certificates of canvass (COCs) and based on these copies, it is the President who was leading from the tally of 173 COCs available," Bunye said.

Based on the official COCs now in possession of K-4 lawyers, Mrs. Arroyo has so far garnered 12,554,127 votes against Poe’s 11,493,345 votes nationwide, or a difference of 1,060,782 votes.

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Gabriel Claudio, campaign manager of Mrs. Arroyo during the elections, and K-4 legal counsel Romeo Macalintal announced these figures last week.

The claims of Claudio and Macalintal were validated by a ranking Comelec official, who asked not to be named.

However, Bunye reiterated the Palace stand that it would wait for Congress to officially proclaim the winners in the presidential and vice presidential elections.

In his daily press briefing at the Palace yesterday, Bunye also deplored what he termed as an act of "mis-representation" on the part of KNP senatorial candidate Rep. Didagen Dilangalen, who presented in Congress copies of the alleged tampered COCs during the debate on the procedures on canvassing.

"It is an impression that there was some misrepresentation on the part of Mr. Dilangalen because what were shown were two different COCs. Although the COCs have the same numbers they pertain to different municipalities and that’s the reason why the representatives from Cebu reacted very vehemently to the presentation," Bunye noted.

He told Palace reporters that he saw the proceedings himself on the live telecast of the Congress debate on government-run NBN Channel 4.

"Anyway, this is not the time to bring out these alleged discrepancies. It is during the actual canvass that this should be brought forward," he pointed out.

"We would like to remind those raising issues of electoral fraud that the media is not the proper venue for airing and presenting pieces of evidence," Bunye added.

"Those who have been repeatedly claiming that they have sufficient evidence to back up their allegations are best advised to bring the matter before the Comelec, where the administration will certainly participate to thresh out and meet these charges head on," he pointed out in obvious digs at the group of presidential challenger Bro. Eddie Villanueva who presented to media video clips of supposed cheating at the Philippine embassy in Hong Kong. — With Paolo Romero, Nikko Dizon

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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