IN A recent press conference sponsored by one support group, Patrick Pantaleon of the La Salle-Ateneo Alumni at Lahat na (Laal) expressed his group’s support for Governor Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio.

“We have been observing him for the past two years, looked into charges being hurled against him, even met with groups who are critical of him” Pantaleon said, “but we could find nothing true in these accusations.”

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Ifugao Governor Ted Baguilat, Panlilio’s co-founder of the Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical leadership, read the group’s statement condemning the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec’s) ruling declaring Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda as the winner in the 2007 gubernatorial elections.

Baguilat said, “we call on the Comelec to reverse its decision and respect the mandate given to Among Ed by the Kapampangans”, as he also called on all Filipinos “who believe in ethical leadership to support Among Ed.”

In-school youth leader Erico Villanueva said his group advocates for clean and honest elections which they helped ensure in the 2007 elections in Pampanga.

“Sa ginawang desisyon ng Comelec, and itinuturong nandaya ay hindi si Among Ed, kundi kami, ang mga kabataan at iba pang grupong nagserbisyo upang maging malinis at makatotohanan and eleksyon noong 2007.”

Vic Dultra, representing General Danilo Lim and the Kilusang Alyansang Makabansa, said “pag natanggal si Governor Panlilio, maghahari ang kadiliman sa Pampanga, huwag naman sana.”

Dultra emphasized that “it is time for all Kapampangans and Filipinos to think of the future of their children” and he added “we can only do this by supporting the cause of Among Ed and others like him who advocate moral leadership”.

Panlilio, for his part, questioned the Comelec decision and the way it appeared to have been processed in favor of his opponent.

He also thanked the individuals and groups who support him and continue to believe in him, saying “at stake here is truth, justice and the dignity of the Filipino people.”

When asked by the media what form of support they are prepared to give for the governor, Pantaleon said they would raise funds, bring in people, and support him in every way.

Baguilat disclosed that Kaya Natin is consolidating resources in support of Among Ed and Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, who along with Panlilio and Baguilat were co-founders of the movement.

Other members are Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo while more local officials also eventually joined the group.

Villanueva said their group is mobilizing 1000 youth volunteers to support Panlilio and to ensure that their voice is heard towards the holding of fair and clean elections.

Also present in the press conference was Pong Querubin, wife of Col. Ariel Querubin, who is running for elections under Senator Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP).

She said she and her group were sent to the press conference by the Colonel to show support to Governor Panlilio and to all those persecuted by the Arroyo administration, regardless of their political affiliation.”

Balzunce also called on members of media to pay attention to the situation in Pampanga and to have a conscience and to be fair on coming elections.

He concluded, “they may be able to control a corruptible Comelec, but if the media does its work with a conscience and allows democracy to work, good will triumph over evil.” (Press Release/PIO)