By Macon Ramos-Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz
Amid mounting accusations that the ruling Liberal Party was using dirty tricks to discredit their opponents, LP vice presidential candidate and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo said both she and her presidential running mate Manuel Roxas II were also victims of black propaganda.
“There are reports from social media that we have tarpaulins on Edsa, in Taft… but obviously they’re Photoshopped. It’s saddening that those who want to ruin us would go so low as to make something without basis,” Robredo said in Mangatarem, Pangasinan.
“Criticism is better, because it already has basis,” she added.
Robredo said she hoped people would not believe the smear tactics and said she never placed a tarpaulin along a congested thoroughfare.
Robredo admitted she needed to exert an extra effort because most people in the provinces did not know her.
“I need to work very hard, [because] many people don’t know me yet,” she said. “But I’m very hardworking and I like who I’m with. In my opinion. Things won’t be very hard for me soon,” Robredo added.
In the same interview, Roxas slammed the frontrunner for the presidency, Senator Grace Poe, for promising businessmen in the vote-rich province of Pangasinan that she would build an international airport in Santa Barbara to serve the people of Northern Luzon and to boost travel and tourism there if she were elected president.
Roxas said Poe’s proposal was not feasible and was similar to a plan by the previous administration to build an international airport in Alaminos City.
“All of these [projects] go under the Neda (National Economic and Development Authority). Those with experience in governance know [this], and we’re watching closely how the limited money of the government is allocated to projects that can help the many,” Roxas added, taking a dig at Poe’s inexperience.
Roxas also urged former Senator Richard Gordon to identify those LP members who tried to convince him to file a disqualification case against Poe, adding that he would expel them if Gordon’s claim was proven true.
“It’s better [for him] to mention who is this person so we can investigate… If we need to expel him, we’ll expel him from the party,” Roxas said.
Poe and her vice presidential running mate Senator Francis Escudero came under renewed attack with text messages circulating that said they were against call centers because they opened the youth to social ills and vices.
In a statement Tuesday night, Poe and Escudero denied the content of the text message and said they fully supported the growth and further development of the business process outsourcing BPO industry.
In their platform for inclusive growth, they said, “horizon industries” such as BPO should be nurtured to spur economic development and create new jobs.
The senators said the text message was part of the smear campaign against them.
Poe’s spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said some quarters were sowing misinformation and lies to discredit Poe and Escudero.
“This is part of an organized black propaganda [campaign] to demolish Senator Grace Poe and Senator Francis Escudero, who are leading various pre-election presidential and vice presidential surveys,” he said.
Also on Wednesday, leaders from the LP and the opposition United Nationalist Alliace denied the revelation by Gordon that their members had asked him to file a disqualification complaint against Poe.
UNA president and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco said the opposition would not resort to such a desperate act.
“I am not aware of that,” Tiangco told The Standard in a text message, in response to Gordon’s claim that he was approached by politicians to orchestrate the disqualification of Poe to take her out in the political equation in 2016.
Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting also defended the UNA and its members.
“I don’t think our members are capable of doing that,” Tambunting said in a separate interview, saying that their standard bearer, Vice President Jejomar Binay, is himself was a victim of black propaganda to diminish his chance of winning the presidency in next year’s elections.
LP stalwarts also played down the Gordon revelation.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said it would be unfair to pinpoint Roxas or even the administration party as the source of any black propaganda against certain presidential candidates.
Belmonte, campaign manager of the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid and vice LP vice chairman, said Gordon’s revelation was “a general vague and unsubstantiated statement.”
“It was also self-serving,” Belmonte told The Standard. He urged Gordon to make public details of the incidents.
Quezon City Rep. Jorge Banal laughed off Gordon’s revelation, saying it was baseless.
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