MANILA, Philippines – Amid criticism against Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya for his “black and white” comment pertaining to the difference between the Liberal Party and the United Nationalist Alliance, an LP member on Tuesday urged UNA to “raise the bar of public debate.”
Eastern Representative Ben Evardone said that UNA, which has maintained its stand as a constructive opposition, should “stick to issues and avoid a personality-based campaign.”
UNA has cried foul over Abaya’s comment, seeing it as an apparent dig at Vice President Jejomar Binay’s dark complexion.
“The statement of Secretary Abaya in trying to draw the line between the opposition and the administration candidates does not refer to the color of the skin of an individual. To interpret it like that is a very myopic view,” said Evardone.
“It is far from that,” he maintained.
“What we are trying to say is that the people should choose between those who embrace reforms and those who are against it. Huwag naman natin gawing ampaw ang debate sa mga isyu (Let’s not trivialize issues in our debates),” he added.
But UNA secretary general and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco brushed off the statement, asking why Evardone deserved a reply.
He cited a quote from Evardone in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report back in 2008, saying “Evardone was quoted as saying “Wherever the President (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) is, I will be there,” he said. So shouldn’t he be at Veterans Hospital with GMA?”
Tiangco again raised what he called “sipsipolitics”, a term he used to describe the Eastern Samar lawmaker’s tendency to jump from one party to another.
“Why should I reply to a person with no word of honor? He ran under FPJ (the late Fernando Poe Jr.), transferred to [Arroyo] and is now with Pnoy (President Aquino). How does he explain that?” the UNA official asked.
“Just last week he was sowing intrigues between the President and the Vice President, so he was the one who started this personality-based politics,” he pointed out.
“The only politics he knows is sipsipolitics,” he accused.