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Call for peaceful polls

By P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: With security concerns dominating the political mood on the eve of the presidential poll in the Philippines, the five candidates on Sunday held a prayer together for "peaceful and credible elections'' at the national and local levels tomorrow. The presidential palace called on the people to ensure "clean, honest and credible elections.'' With the authorities alluding to what they described as the "rumours or reports (that) there are foul plans afoot'' to disturb Monday's polling, the President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, joined the other four presidential candidates in a symbolic "Unity Mass'' at the San Augustin Church in Manila. Besides Ms. Arroyo, who had reversed her decision not to run for presidency only last October, was joined by the other candidates — former Senator Raul Roco, Senator Panfilo Lacson, actor Fernando Poe Jr. and Eddie Villanueva. The prayer was led by the former President, Corazon Aquino, whose electoral success on the basis of a "people power'' movement had taken the Philippines out of the Ferdinand Marcos era of autocratic rule.

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