MANILA, MAY 15, 2007 (BULLETIN) By GENALYN D. KABILING - President Arroyo called on the public, especially the candidates, yesterday to end bitter political rivalries and respect the verdict of the May, 2007 mid-term elections.

As she hailed the political exercise as democracy in action, the President said the nation must now work towards unity following a fierce campaign period.

The President particularly asked candidates from both the administration and opposition camps to be gracious in either victory or defeat once the ballots are counted.

"May matitinding pagtutunggali sa lahat ng kampanya, subalit mag magandang-loob tayo, manalo man o matalo. Para sa kapakanan ng bansa, dapat isara ang mga kabanata ng hidwaan at pagtutunggali paglabas ng hatol ng bayan, at buksan ang pinto ng pambansang pagkakaisa at pagkakapit-bisig (Campaigns are marked by fierce competition, but we should be gracious, win or lose. For the good of the country, the chapters on bickering and competition should be closed once the people’s verdict is out, and instead let us open the door to national unity and cooperation)," she said in a statement.

The President thanked the millions of Filipino voters who trooped to the precincts to vote freely and according to their conscience.

The President thanked the Comelec and its deputized agencies for effectively safeguarding the elections.

Mrs. Arroyo also praised the public teachers and other government personnel for fulfilling their election duties despite a bloodsoaked campaign season that saw more than 110 people killed.

The President said her administration hopes to keep a majority in the House of Representatives as well as most of the 12 seats being contested in the 24-member Senate to ensure that the last three years of her rule would be smooth.

GMA, son Mikey vote in Lubao, Pampanga By DAVID CAGAHASTIAN & FRED M. ROXAS

President Arroyo joined millions of Filipinos yesterday in exercising their right to vote, and extolled those who chose their candidates based on their own principles and beliefs.

The President voted in her father’s hometown of Lubao, Pampanga, yesterday morning, as she had done in previous elections. She arrived at the Lubao Elementary School at 8 a.m., just right after her son, reelectionist Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, arrived there to vote.

Mrs. Arroyo and her son were listed as voters No. 83 and nine respectively at Precinct 1-A of San Nicolas in Lubao in the first district of Pampanga.

Mrs. Arroyo was the 35th voter in Precinct 1 which has 196 voters including several Macapagals such as Mrs. Arroyo’s sister, Cielo, and their brothers Arturo and Diosdado, Jr.

Mrs. Arroyo lined up for her ballot just like any other voter, then chose a private corner in the fourth and last row, to fill up her ballot—away from the prying lenses of video and still cameras.

After emerging from the voting booth, Mrs. Arroyo was swarmed by supporters and reporters seeking to hear her thoughts on how the elections had been conducted in the country so far.

Many also sought to know whom she supported as the administration coalition’s leader in the controversial three-way gubernatorial race in Pampanga.

Incumbent Gov. Mark Lapid is being challenged by another known administration ally, board member Lilia "Baby" Pineda, for the governorship of Pampanga. Fr. Eddie Panlilio, parish priest of the St. James the Apostle Parish in Guagua, Pampanga, is also running for governor of the province and is said to have sparked some sort of "People Power" in support of his candidacy.

Mrs. Arroyo kept her silence on the controversial gubernatorial race in Pampanga.

A big number of voters arrived at the polling place as early as 7 a.m., with a few complaining about their difficulty in finding their names in the voters’ lists because they were not listed alphabetically. Many old voters who have died were still in the lists of voters.

At about the same time, Pineda cast her vote at nearby precinct No. 0448 in Concepcion Elementary School.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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