Malacanang laughs off, belies "Oplan Rafael"
Manila (6 May) -- Malacaņang laughed off what it calls "creative speculation" to elevate fears of an the President clinging on to power after May 10.
According to Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar in radio reports, "Oplan Rafael," or the acronym for "Retain Arroyo through Failure of Elections," as claimed by a militant party list, is a concoction by creative cause oriented groups who could not present evidence.
Olivar maintained the speculation is baseless in as much as Mrs. Arroyo is already running for a congressional seat in Pampanga.
Few days ago, militant group Bayan Muna claimed the malfunctioning of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the May 10 polls are part of "Oplan Rafael."
The Commission on Elections, however, insisted the May 10 polls will push through as scheduled, after tracing the problem to improperly programmed memory cards.
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo cited supposedly ominous signs like Defense chief Norberto Gonzales Jr.'s reported warning about a failure of elections and "unresolved" automation problems.
But Olivar pointed out Mrs. Arroyo is already campaigning for a congressional seat in her home province of Pampanga. (PIA) [top]