MANILA, June 29, 2005
(STAR) By Jasmin R. Uy, Wenna A. Berondo, Joeberth M. Ocao and Garry B. Lao The Freeman - Cebuanos had a lot to say about the recent confessions of President Gloria Arroyo regarding the alleged poll fraud tapes.

Cebu Archdiocese spokesman Msgr. Achilles Dakay said that President Gloria Arroyo's plea for forgiveness can only be accorded to her if she seeks penance and would be willing to face the penalty of her shortcomings.

"Forgiveness is given but justice was done, dili mi makatugot kung mo saylo lang, penance and penalty should go with it," Dakay added.

Meanwhile, city officials called for a concerted effort to support Arroyo, saying she deserves support for her candidness and humility when she apologized to the people.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama yesterday said the controversy is something that we should learn from and its time to stop harping.

Meanwhile Cebu 1st district Rep. Eduardo Gullas yesterday praised Arroyo for her humility in owning up and apologizing for her lapse in judgment.

"It may have been long in coming but her apology is nevertheless welcome and should put an end to this sorry episode," Gullas said, adding that pursuing the matter any further would not serve any useful purpose.

It was in Cebu that Arroyo defeated the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. by over a million votes in the May 2004 presidential election.

In Cebu City, Arroyo posted 220,060 votes as against Poe's 58,591 votes. In Cebu Province, the President posted 965,630 votes while Poe ended up with 125,099 votes.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu City Chapter President Alex Tolentino believes that Arroyo's owning up of the controversial tapes is an admission of guilt in criminal law, although she still has a chance to present evidence proving she did not cheat in the polls.

Former Governor Pablo Garcia, an ally of Arroyo, said her admission does not have any legal implications and it does not prove anything except that she is sorry she took so long to comment on the controversy.

Garcia, an acknowledged Constitutionalist, said that the tape does not prove Arroyo ordered the rigging of the election. He supports the move to stop the ongoing investigation conducted by the House of Representatives saying Congress is not the proper venue to conduct the investigation because some congressmen may use it for grandstanding.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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