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article imagePhilippine presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino's lead widens

By Leo Reyes     May 7, 2010 in Politics
Three days before the Philippines' first automated elections, presidential contender Sen. Noynoy Aquino widens his lead by about 20 percent over his closest political rivals. A religious group also assured Aquino of at least two million bloc votes.
Philippine Senator Noynoy Aquino is leading by more than 20 percentage points over his closest rivals for Philippine presidency according to the latest poll surveys.
Three days before Monday's election, Aquino says he is confident of winning by a wide margin in the country's first automated election.
Aquino's closest rivals former president Joseph Estrada and Senator Manny Villar are tied for second place at 20 percent apiece while administration's candidate Gilbert Teodoro got around percent, latest survey results show.
Aquino's quest for presidency got a new boost Thursday as religious group Iglesia ni Kristo assured Aquino of at least two million votes from its membership.
"The huge Iglesia vote is the clincher in this contest," said Earl Parreno of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms. The church's bloc vote would give Aquino 2-3 million extra votes and a clear mandate.
"Based on surveys, it's a very formidable lead, but the final outcome would not really reflect the opinion polls," said political analyst Antonio Gatmaitan.
In a surprise statement from former president Joseph Estrada who is currently running second in this year's presidential derby, he said he will support the Aquino presidency if he gets a clear mandate from the people but he qualified his statement by saying Aquino should also respect the 'voice of the people' if he gets a second mandate to rule the country.
Estrada did not finish his six-year term after being tried in court and found guilty of plunder under the administration of incumbent president Gloria Arroyo, who later granted him presidential pardon. Estrada claimed the cases were politically-motivated.
“If Sen. Aquino will be so lucky as to get elected by the majority of the people, he can count on my support,” Estrada said in his speech during a press conference at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan amid mounting calls for manual counting of votes because of the glitches in the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines which will be used by the Commission of elections (Comelec) for the country’s first ever automated elections on Monday, May 10.
The supplier and contractor for the first ever automated election in the Philippines is under fire for the failure of its precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to count votes correctly during the mock elections held in various pilot areas in the Philippines.
The machine malfunction caused panic among election watchdogs, politicians, voters and the officials of the Comelec as the scheduled election day draws closer.
Comelec announced Thursday it has solved the technical glitches and announced election will proceed as scheduled.
More about Election, Automation, Election count, Aquino, Philippines
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