LIBERAL Party (LP) presidential and vice presidential candidates Senators Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas tried to win the heart of vote-rich Pangasinan on Tuesday.

Pangasinan second district Representative Victor Agbayani, who is running for governor, said that judging by the warmth of the Pangasinenses, the LP is leading in Pangasinan at the moment.

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“We came from Bani; you saw the reception in Alaminos. These are two very populous LGUs (local government units) in western Pangasinan. The reception was terrific. Judging from that, it has been consistent. Pangasinense are really hoping for the change that will be brought by Noynoy and Mar," he said.

Agbayani, however, said that LP allies in Pangasinan have relied mostly on national surveys to gauge the support of the Pangasinenses.

Alaminos City Mayor Nani Braganza said the last time such a huge number of crowd gathered to see a political leader was when Fidel Ramos, a Pangasinense, was elected.

“I was surprised with reception to Senator Aquino. It was surprising. Ilocanos by nature are very conservative and yet I saw someone earlier who had just taken a bath go out of her house, still wrapped in a towel. So I said, the candidate is not that handsome but as to the surveys, I've been in public service for a long time, they serve as guide," he said.

Braganza believed Agbayani's pronouncement that the warm reception of the Pangasinenses are a more concrete gauge of the amount of support of Aquino and Roxas.

Braganza even pronounced if the same extent of support continues, the LP tandem will have a landslide victory in Pangasinan.

No people power

In a related development, a Palace official dismissed threats that a people power might ensue if there is failure of elections.

Deputy Presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said the people and the uniformed services would not agree to any unconstitutional shortcuts.

He made the statement after Aquino said that if the people felt their rights were thwarted, “they will again regain sovereignty among themselves."

Olivar said he agrees with Aquino's statement that sovereignty resides in the people, but “the question of course is how is that sovereignty expressed.”

He said this could be expressed through a workers' party or a communist party, through a constitutional democracy and the duly elected or appointed officials, or through a “revolutionary power grabs when they think the situation justifies it.”

“Of course the question of who are they and what gives them the right to give such justification, that question is never answered, because it is a question that can be answered properly in an open society. This is why I say it seems that the good Senator has finally answered our question … when we asked why the opposition keeps trying to scare our people with all their talk about election failure,” Olivar said.

“Many of his leaders appear to have developed an unhealthy addiction to Edsa adventurism. It is no longer people power we're talking about here. Let's be honest about that. It is nothing but a naked threat of power grab in case the voters turn them down at the polls,” he added.

The Palace official noted that in Aquino’s situation where he is faced with a rival candidate who has billions of pesos to back up his campaign, and an administration candidate who is backed up by the administration party’s machinery, his “loss … at the polls becomes more and more a distinct possibility and therefore something that they seem to be reacting to more strongly now.”

“Unluckily for these people, our countrymen have grown tired of unconstitutional shortcuts no matter how well-intentioned. And our uniformed services will not look too kindly on any new challenge to the chain of command and the laws of the land.”

For her part, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Charito Planas reiterated for the nth time that there would be no failure of elections with the worst scenario seen as a “mixed automated-manual counting of votes in case of power supply shortage.”

Planas said the government has all the necessary preparations and available remedies to ensure that coming election would be a “success and to assure the people that it will be an honest, orderly and credible exercise.” (Angela Casauay/JMR/Sunnex)