IM this article to a friend!

December 16, 2003

Roco camp chides Malacañang for saying hand signal ‘satanic’

From: Manila Times, Philippines - Dec 16, 2003

By Maila Ager, Reporter

A Malacañang official said the official hand signal of presidential challenger Raul Roco does not represent love but wickedness and satanism.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Palace source said a search on the Internet showed that the hand signal Roco has been using in his campaign symbolizes satanism, the exact opposite of what people perceive as a "love sign."

A spokesman for the former senator, however, denied the assertion, saying the remark was a sign of desperation in the Palace.

Ernesto Pangan, Roco's chief of staff, lambasted the Palace official who said the hand symbol connotes satanic devotion. "It's a well-thought out hand symbol that basically means 'I love you.' We tested this symbol on the youth and they know that it means love. We are sincere in our love for our country and this hand symbol is used to show [that] love," Pangan said.

"This Palace official is totally desperate. It's a sign of desperation. It's not within the normal realm of imagination to research on the Internet and link satanism to a hand symbol that's been universally known and accepted as 'I love you,'" he added.

The symbol, used in American Sign Language to mean I Love You, was adopted by the popular love team of the actor Romnick Sarmienta and the actress Sheryl Cruz during the 1980s.

Of the four declared candidates for president, Roco and the movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. have so far come up with hand signals, the latter using a "No. 1" sign.

Opposition Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson does not have a hand signal yet as he is still struggling for the endorsement of the so-called united opposition. Malacañang is still contemplating whether President Arroyo would need one.

The same Palace official told The Times that the President may choose not to use any hand signal during her campaign, since she has never really used one in her more than two years in office.

"It may be awkward for her . . . I don't think we will still find it necessary," the source said.

The President's campaign team, however, has already completed the jingles she will use in her campaign.

Malacañang would not say when the President would file her certificate of candidacy, saying that only she knows the right time to do it.

On Monday President Arroyo dismissed accusations that she is trying to win the votes of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) though her frequent travels abroad.

"In all my foreign trips for the past two and a half years, I have always met up with our OFWs and embraced them because they represent the goodness, greatness and excellence of our people," she said in a statement.

The President defended her meeting with an estimated 5,000 Filipino workers in Hong Kong, where she reportedly handed out raffle prizes ranging from medical checkups to house and lots.

She said she only brought the Christmas spirit to these people because many of them cannot be with their loved ones this season.

"I shall continue to champion the cause of our OFWs and their families for the pride and sacrifice they have shown for our country," she said.

Copyright (c) 2001 The Manila Times