MANILA,  JUNE 1, 2004
By Sherwin C. Olaes  -  Malacañang is furious at the print ads placed in major broadsheets the other day by Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. that revealed alleged cheating in the May 10 elections and the administration's alleged use of government resources to bankroll the campaign of incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye yesterday said what the Palace dislikes most in the Poe ads is the KNP presidential candidate's intention to bring fraud complaints to the media and the public instead of what the Palace calls “proper venues” such as the Commission on Elections (Comelec). “This (poll fraud issue) has been debated extensively in Congress... We advise people to refrain from grandstanding (before the) media,” Bunye added.

When a reporter reminded him that Poe, or FPJ, has appealed to his supporters not to initiate any violent protest action against the government, the presidential spokesman cooled down, saying, “That part (Poe's plea) we like but what we don't like is the part where he talked about the poll fraud and the alleged use of government resources. These accusations have not been proved and should be (brought before) the proper venues.”

Earlier, Malacañang accused the FPJ camp of recruiting civilians and arming them for violent action aimed at stopping the possible proclamation of Mrs. Arroyo as the President-elect.

Although the Arroyo camp has not directly linked Poe to the alleged destabilization plot, it claims that some elements of the opposition are convincing the KNP standard-bearer to join the plot to stop Mrs. Arroyo's “proclamation.''

In the print ad, Poe also lambasted the composition of the 22-man joint National Board of Canvassers, claiming that it does not provide equal representation to political parties. (See related story)

“Unlike the previous years, the manner in which Congress, through a Joint Committee, will perform its functions as the National Board of Canvassers has been the subject of much debate and, perhaps, the reason is the proposed composition of the same which, unlike in previous years, does not provide for equal representation between and among all candidates and parties,” he said.

Poe also expressed his alarm at the administration's alleged manipulation and cheating in the recent elections, which actions have not officially been looked into by concerned authorities despite the complaint and plea of the opposition.

“As our country completes its electoral journey, we should unite behind our duly elected leaders who will steer us in the difficult and trying times ahead. The recently concluded elections should unite us instead of dividing us as a country and people. I am, however, greatly disturbed by reports of massive fraud and of the unbridled misuse of government resources in the recently concluded elections,” he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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