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Arroyo fails to vote; she’s too sick, says rival

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not vote on Monday, a contrast to the five previous elections where she voted as early as 7 a.m.

“She’s detained, that’s why,” her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel Arroyo, explained when the Inquirer asked about her absence and her failure to vote. She is seeking a second term as representative of Pampanga’s second district in the House of Representatives.

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Arroyo’s main rival, the Liberal Party’s Vivian Dabu, said Arroyo did not request to leave the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).

“If [her families and her allies] show her to the people, this is going to confirm that she is sick and weak and could not serve us in the second district,” Dabu told reporters in Barangay (village) San Pablo 2 where she cast her vote.

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Arroyo’s husband denied this, saying his wife had friends and supporters who would help her serve her constituents.

Asked if Arroyo had made a request to at least avail herself of detainee voting, he said: “She’s detained, she’s sick.”

He said Arroyo needed more surgery to correct two previous operations on her spine. He rued that the Aquino administration did not allow her to leave the country so she could seek medical help abroad.

Diagnosed with a rare bone disease, Arroyo has been under detention at the VMMC in Quezon City since October last year after she was charged with plunder in connection with the P325-million intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Voter No. 76

She is Voter No. 76 in Precinct 0001A where her husband also voted for the first time.

Mike Arroyo said the former president “feels bad and depressed” that she was not able to vote this time.

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Mike Arroyo and his son, Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, arrived at the Lubao East Central Elementary School in Barangay San Nicolas 1 at 11:15 a.m. to vote.

Mike, 66, used the senior citizens priority lane, enabling him to vote shortly after he arrived. Because the queue was long, Mikey decided to leave after his father cast his vote. They proceeded to their house beside the church in the same village.

Former Vice Gov. Cielo Macapagal-Salgado said she did not know why her sister did not vote.

Salgado said she met with her on her birthday on April 5. “She lost weight. She’s thinner,” Salgado said.

Pineda against dynasty

In Barangay Concepcion, also in Lubao, reelectionist Gov. Lilia Pineda said she wanted a law against political dynasties so that, once and for all, it would be defined. Her vice gubernatorial candidate is her son, Dennis.

She said her family was not building a dynasty in Pampanga, only that people were clamoring for them to serve.

In Minalin, Pampanga, former priest and governor Eddie Panlilio expressed the hope that voters in Pampanga would follow President Aquino’s request to bring good governance in Pampanga.

In Olongapo City, Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate JC de los Reyes said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should do a parallel manual count or the results of the elections would not matter.

De los Reyes, who stood in line for more than an hour waiting to vote at the Nellie Brown Elementary School in West Bajac Bajac, said the Comelec had to do a manual parallel count “to verify the results of the elections to give it credibility.”

‘Comelec not prepared’

De los Reyes’ uncle, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate Richard Gordon, who voted in Barangay East Tapinac, said the Comelec was not prepared for this election.

This was because the Comelec had failed to provide the country with credible elections due to the many questions raised by the source code used in the PCOS machines, he said. “I don’t even know what source code was used for this election. Was it the same one used last election? Was there another one?” he asked.

Another UNA senatorial candidate, Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay, voted in barangay Cabalan in Olongapo City at 2 p.m. In Bulacan, Bangon Pilipinas senatorial candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva, accompanied by his wife, Dory, voted at Barangay Bunlo Elementary School in Bocaue town at 9 a.m.

Villanueva, leader of the Jesus is Lord Movement, said he was confident that he would win due to the support of overseas Filipino workers and their families who endorsed his bid.

“I strongly believe the innate goodness of the Filipino people will prevail. I am very confident that they will express their love for the country, especially so if they included me in their choice and they make me win,” he said.

In Ilocos Norte, reelectionist Rep. Imelda Marcos and her son, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., arrived at their polling precinct at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Elementary School in Batac City at 7:20 a.m., a short walk from the Marcos home in the city.

Marcos, who was wearing her signature red dress, finished casting her vote at 8:04 a.m. while Bongbong finished earlier.

In Cagayan, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile cast his vote at the Aparri East Central School amid tight security.

Enrile, who arrived in his hometown on board a helicopter, greeted voters who lined up in the school compound before he went inside the polling precinct.—Reports from Tonette Orejas, Robert Gonzaga and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon, and Cristina Arzadon and Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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