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Even Church may take action if people’s will thwarted – Aquino

BACACAY, Albay – Despite criticisms from a top Catholic Church official, Senator Noynoy Aquino believes the Catholic Church will still support the people if they decide to assert their sovereignty in case their will is thwarted in the May 10 elections.

Aquino made this clear at a press conference here on Monday, a day after Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said he will not join a people-power-type mass action if there is a failure of elections.

“I respect the Cardinal’s opinion. But I understand the Catholic Church will also be watching at events closely. And once it discerns what is right from what is wrong, it will act accordingly like it did before,” he said.

In 1986, the Catholic Church, led by then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, backed a popular civilian-military uprising that catapulted Aquino’s late mother Corazon to the presidency. Sin called on the people to support the breakaway of former defense chief Juan Ponce Enrile and then deputy armed forces chief, Gen. Fidel Ramos, from the Marcos regime over widespread fraud in the Feb. 7, 1986 snap elections.

Aquino however said Rosales might have been misinformed when he branded as irresponsible a statement where Aquino supposedly called for a revolt.

“I assume he was fed certain quotes attributed to me which may or may not have been correct. And he was reacting to those. If he had heard exactly what I said, I don’t think he would have rendered that opinion,” he noted adding that he will leave it to the people to decide what action to take if they feel their will had been thwarted.

“As we have maintained, this is a people’s campaign. We are but servants of the people, we are the face of the struggles they are waging. Therefore it will be the people who will decide on the appropriate action in case there is cheating. But we are there to defend and uphold the rights of everybody,” he said.

Expressing confidence, he noted that there is little chance he will lose on May 10, citing surveys by reputable firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations where he got as much as a 19-percent lead over his closest opponents. Former Pres. Estrada and Sen. Villar were tied with 20 percentage points each.

These polling results were echoed by two others: the Magdalo-commissioned survey conducted from April 19 to 24, where Sen. Aquino was chosen by 39.6 percent of the 3,000 respondents, 24.8 percent chose former Pres. Estrada, while 23.6 percent, Sen. Villar; and the Manila Standard Today survey conducted from April 25 to 27 with 2,500 respondents, where Aquino got 38 percent; Estrada, 22 percent; Villar, 20 percent.

“(Roughly) 20 percent in a 40-million turnout translates to about an 8-million advance,” noted Aquino. “So they will have to recover 8 million, which means adding more votes on top of the 8 million to overcome our lead. With five days left in the campaign that would mean getting something like 2 million votes a day which I think will be very difficult,” he said.#