DAGUPAN CITY—Liberal Party (LP) members in Pangasinan condemned what they said is the disinformation campaign being waged by supporters of Nationalist People’s Coalition re-electionist Gov. Amado Espino Jr., saying this was a “desperate measure meant to arrest the dwindling public support for his re-election bid.”
“The LP will continue to expose such dirty tactics, including attempts to sow intrigue and disinformation using the media,” the party said in a statement.
It was a reaction to a report circulated this week that 17 LP mayoral candidates had switched sides, which most of the candidates disowned in a Wednesday news conference.
The candidates, however, claimed they were wooed by Pangasinan Board Member Ranjit Shahani, an LP member, to support Espino instead of LP gubernatorial candidate Hernani Braganza, mayor of Alaminos City.
Shahani and Braganza are cousins.
At a party caucus on Wednesday, 12 LP candidates discussed how they were being courted by Shahani to support Espino. Some of them called for Shahani’s dismissal from the party.
On Friday, Shahani insisted that most of the LP mayoral candidates had approved a covenant of support for Espino. He said he has “evidence, complete with pictures,” and would make these public and available to the media.
The report said the following candidates signed a covenant of support for Espino: re-electionist Sta. Barbara Mayor Carlito Zaplan, former San Carlos City Mayor Douglas Soriano, Benigno Robeniol of Asingan, Moises Hortaleza of Sta. Maria, Eddie Lopez of San Manuel, Madelyn Cabotaje of Tayug, Rowena Zaragoza of Natividad, Percival Mallari of Infanta, Felicitas Soriano of Malasiqui, Renato Legaspi of Binalonan, Herminigildo Marzan of Balungao, Dominador Arenas of Labrador and Constante Agbayani of San Fabian.
It said the following LP candidates are expected to join the covenant: Wilson de Vera of Calasiao, Romeo Boling of Mabini, Gerardo Rosete of Burgos and Bongkil Sison of Agno.
The LP statement cited testimonies from LP mayoral candidates saying that they were offered P100,000 to P500,000 to back Espino through Shahani. They denied taking the offer.
“We wish to state on record that we never signed a covenant or any document supporting the re-election bid of Espino,” said the candidates in a signed statement released after the caucus.
Gualberto Sison, LP mayoral candidate for Agno, said he was also offered P100,000 in cash by Shahani but he declined it. “I keep my word. I will only support my candidate,” he said. With a report from Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon