Cebu group launches Aquino campaign

September 4, 2009 CEBU CITY, Philippines—The call for Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to run for president is gaining ground in Cebu.

Lawyer Democrito Barcenas, former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter and who was appointed officer-in-charge-vice governor in Cebu by the late president Corazon Aquino following the Edsa Revolution, launched the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement on Friday with the signing of a manifesto.

Patrick Yap-Lim, a first cousin of Kris Aquino's husband James Yap, was among those who joined Barcenas during the launching.

Barcenas said they aimed to gather at least 2,000 signatures before September 9, the 40th day of president Corazon Aquino’s death, when the senator was expected to announce his decision.

The manifesto, which strongly urged Senator Aquino to run for President in 2010 elections, emphasized the desire of the people for a meaningful change in leadership to address the present moral, political and economic crises in the country.

It also stated that the people need a leader whom they can trust, who has the sincerity, humility and passion for public service.

It added that Senator Aquino would always honor the memory of his martyred father Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. and the legacy of his mother in their historic role in ending the Marcos dictatorship in whatever public office that he holds.

"Therefore, in consonance with our commitment to preserve the democratic ideals bequeathed by Ninoy and Cory Aquino, we, the concerned citizens of the city and province of Cebu, hereby strongly urge Senator Noynoy Aquino to carry on the torch of leadership left by his illustrious parents by running for President in the 2010 presidential elections," the manifesto stated.

While the launching was held at the IBP social hall, Barcenas explained that the organization had nothing to do with the movement.

But he noted that three judges in Cebu, whom he refused to identify, have expressed their support for the movement.

Barcenas said they have spread the manifesto in the different schools and universities like the University of the Philippines (UP-Cebu), the University of San Carlos, the University of San Jose-Recoletos and University of Cebu, to gather more signatures from the students.

As of Friday noon, they already had 600 signatories, Barcenas said.

Barcenas said the manifesto would be given to Senator Aquino next week if he would come to Cebu as some reports indicated, or it would be delivered to Manila.

When asked to comment on criticisms that Aquino was inexperienced, Barcenas admitted that he was inexperienced but only "in robbing the people, in extra-judicial killings." (Inquirer)

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