MANILA,  JUNE 11, 2004
Votes from an island bailiwick in the Visayas propelled President Arroyo back on top as the canvassing by the joint committee in Congress entered its fifth day yesterday.

The votes from the island-province of Siquijor lifted Mrs. Arroyo to the top spot, overtaking opposition front-runner Fernando Poe Jr. after 60 certificates of canvass (COCs) were tabulated by the joint congressional canvassing panel.

Mrs. Arroyo got 195,259 votes while Poe came in second with 188,172 votes. The joint canvassing panel tabulated the COCs from Siquijor, Kuwait and Lebanon at 7:25 p.m. Independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson landed third with 46,848 votes followed by evangelist Eddie Villanueva with 32,258 votes and former education secretary Raul Roco with 25,191.

In the vice presidential race, Sen. Loren Legarda continued her lead with 231,258 votes over Sen. Noli de Castro’s 220,935 votes. Herminio Aquino got 9,989 votes while Rodolfo Pajo got 613. Poe took the lead over Mrs. Arroyo on Wednesday after his allies in the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) did not object to the resumption of canvassing. KNP lawyers declared nothing irregular in the documents attached to the certificates of canvass from Aurora province, a known opposition bailiwick.

Votes from the province propelled Poe and running mate Legarda to the top slots. - Paolo Romero

RP media did excellent May 10 poll coverage — Mussomeli By Edith Regalado  (Star)

DAVAO CITY — US Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Joseph Mussomeli has praised the Philippine media for their "very good" coverage of the May 10 national and local elections. "I think the Philippine media particularly did a very good job, I was very impressed," he said.

"But all in all, for all it’s worth and I don’t know how much my opinion is really worth, but the Philippine media did an excellent job of covering the issues and the various allegations and countercharges and charges against the various candidates."

Mussomeli said Philippine media had done "a little exaggeration" in its coverage, but this was also true of American media during US elections.

"We were particularly impressed by the bravery of many of these journalists who have taken personal risks to report on the situation on the ground in many ‘hotspots’ in Mindanao," he said.

Meanwhile, Mussomeli said the Philippines has remained on the same threshold 18 years after the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship.

"The Philippines has come a long way in terms of malls, the theaters, the new skyscrapers, but in other ways, it remains on the same threshold," he said. A lot of theories had emerged on what could have gone wrong with the country, he added.

Mussomeli said not one of the usual reasons like corruption, inefficiency and incompetence could sufficiently explain why the country has seemingly been stuck in a rut.

"One possible reason is the notion of citizenship and the long, difficult process required of any society trying to develop a culture of civic responsibility," he said.

"I have found no people smarter, better educated, more industrious and more talented than the Filipino people in my more than 23 years of foreign service."

Mussomeli said the Philippines needs to explore further the role of the citizen in ensuring good governance.

"Civic responsibility creates an atmosphere that ensures the healthy functioning of state institutions that combat corruption, uphold the rule of law and defend a free media," he said. Mussomeli said having been assigned here during the last years of the Marcos dictatorship, he had witnessed the incredible dedication of the Filipino people to a democratic transition in 1986.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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