MANILA , MAY 9, 2010
(STAR)  By Marvin Sy - President Arroyo will lead the country in praying for peaceful and orderly elections tomorrow when the nation chooses her successor after nine years in office.

Deputy presidential spokesmen Rogelio Peyuan, in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan, said that the President would hear mass early Monday morning in her hometown in Lubao, Pampanga where she is running for Congress and where she will vote.

Peyuan said the President should be back at Malacañang in the afternoon.

“The President will continuously monitor the situation across the country, particularly to ensure that all preparations for election day, including the positioning of soldiers and police to prevent any untoward incident, will go smoothly,” Peyuan said in Filipino.

He noted that the election hotspots identified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) are limited and that all security arrangements are already in place in these areas.

“Of course, the entire national security set-up cannot just relax and be complacent because there might be groups that intend to disrupt the elections,” he said.

He said President Arroyo could actually be in Lubao today to celebrate Mother’s Day with her family while getting feedback about her own bid for Congress from the ground.

“As a candidate, she has to ensure that everything related to her candidacy is in place and we expect that she would also fulfill her role as a mother and grandmother,” Peyuan said.

He said that immediately after the elections, he expects the President and her administration to start an inventory of everything that would be turned over to the next administration.

The President also ensured that all projects and services that she has committed to complete during her term would be fulfilled before she steps down on June 30.

Malacañang also urged all candidates in tomorrow’s polls to trust the Comelec to do its job of conducting clean and honest polls.

Peyuan said it was irresponsible for some politicians to come out with statements about winning this early and raising a specter of possible poll fraud.

Church bells to ring on Monday

Church bells at the Manila Cathedral will ring on Monday morning to signify the opening of the polling precincts, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday.

CBCP Media Office director Monsignor Pedro Quitorio III said a 6 a.m. mass has been scheduled tomorrow at the Manila Cathedral, after which they would ring the church bells to inform and remind the public that voting centers are open and they should cast their votes.

Expected to attend the Eucharistic celebration are Metro Manila bishops led by Manila Auxiliary Bishops Broderick Pabillo and Bernardino Cortez, Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco and Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francisco de Leon.

“We also wrote a letter to the different parishes in Manila as well as in other dioceses nationwide. I’m just not sure if they’ll do that but we invited them to do the same.”

“We’ve noticed that the situation right now really calls for prayer and vigilance,” Quitorio said.

Meanwhile, CBCPNews, the official news service provider of the CBCP, reported that even the Philippine embassy at the Holy See has launched a 40-hour of prayer called “Quarant’ Ore,” or the prayer for honest and peaceful elections in the Philippines. It would be said before the Blessed Sacrament.

The Quarant’ Ore devotion was launched last May 6, with a Eucharistic celebration at the Basilica Santa Pudenziana, Sentro Pilipino Chaplaincy in Rome. With Evelyn Macairan

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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