MANILA, Mar 26 (Mabuhay) – The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has accused the Liberal Party (LP) of “hatching (out) a black propaganda and psychological warfare operations” to derail his presidential bid.
“The plot is to reportedly picture Duterte as a pro-American candidate hiding behind the platform of federalism to allow easy access for US companies to the rich mineral resources of Mindanao, particularly metallic ores,” Duterte’s camp said in a statement on Saturday.
Duterte’s camp said the information came from a staff member of the LP, who was not identified by their source.
Citing the insider, the camp said “the hatchet job was planned somewhere in Western Mindanao where the Liberal Party has diehard members.”
“The source reportedly attended one of those meetings. The scheme will reportedly roll out next week in time for the final half of the presidential campaign and which also coincides with the first week of the campaign period for the local elections,” the statement said.
Citing the same source, Duterte’s camp said the Liberal Party would use its allies in the local government officials “to destroy Duterte in Mindanao where the maverick city mayor is very popular.”
“They want to picture Duterte’s populist image as a mere façade to push for a federal system of government. Once it is in place, they will say it will grant easy access for the US to establish US bases in Mindanao,” Duterte’s camp said.
Duterte’s camp compared how the LP has been “hurting from the moribund campaign” of its standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II against the “rock solid” figures for Duterte.
The camp cited the 47 percent voter preference of Duterte in Mindanao.
“That figure has been rock solid for Duterte who elevated crime, illegal drugs and corruption as national issues, something no presidential candidate has ever done before,” it said.
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, described the demolition job “as diabolical and a desperate move to resuscitate (the) ‘dying’ campaign of Roxas.”
“No amount of money and devilish plot can revive Roxas’ candidacy,” Laviña said.
“This only affirms our conviction that they see Duterte as the strongest candidate with a realistic shot at winning the presidency,” he added.
He said the alleged LP the plot could also benefit presidential candidate and Sen. Grace Poe who was earlier tagged as Malacañang’s “secret candidate.”
But President Benigno Aquino III has repeatedly denied this claim.
“The LP will also allegedly try to picture Duterte as a coddler of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as well as an ally of the communist-led New People’s Army,” Laviña said.
Duterte’s camp defended him, saying he has been “known to be critical of US government policies in Mindanao.”
It said that Duterte “once berated the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the US for spiriting out from a hospital in Davao an American national who was injured when a bomb exploded inside the latter’s hotel room in the city.”
It added that the tough-talking mayor also refused to allow the US VFA forces to use the city as staging ground for drone operations.
The Liberal Party, however, denied the allegations of Duterte’s camp.
“Mayor Duterte keeps claiming that there are conspiracies against him, but all his fantasies have been proven false, from a supposed disqualification to an alleged DOJ case, none of which materialized,” Ibarra “Barry” Gutierrez III said.
Gutierrez then slammed Duterte’s supporters, whom he described as “experts at black propaganda.”
“The irony is, it is his supporters that are experts at black propaganda, posting fake stories, fake photos, and fake endorsements online,” Gutierrez said.
“Are lies and fakery the hallmarks of Duterte’s leadership?” he added.(MNS)