Quantcast
Latest Stories

Aquino, Binay back Legarda amid raps

By , Cathy C. Yamsuan TJ Burgonio

Reelectionist Sen. Loren Legarda on Monday received bipartisan support amid what she called efforts to malign her and dislodge her from the No. 1 spot in the surveys.

The statements of support came from friends and foes alike, led by President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, leader of the United Nationalist Alliance.

Earlier in the day, Legarda was charged in the Office of the Ombudsman with five counts each of graft and nondeclaration of a piece of property in the United States in her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) from 2007 to 2012 as required by law.

Also on Monday, Legarda’s party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, hinted at withdrawing from the administration Team PNoy because of what it called “character assassination” by an unnamed coalition teammate.

In a complaint-affidavit, businessman Louis “Barok” C. Biraogo, 52, of Biñan, Laguna, accused Legarda of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials (RA 6713) for  allegedly concealing her purchase of a  condominium on 77 Park Avenue in New York City for $700,000 (about P36 million) on May 9, 2006, from her SALN.

Legarda, however, dismissed Biraogo as “a paid political assassin with zero credibility,” adding that her lawyers would face the issues he raised in “the proper forum.”

Legarda, who is seeking reelection under the Team PNoy coalition, maintained that a fellow administration senatorial candidate was behind Biraogo’s efforts.

President Aquino said he was confident the voters could distinguish between rumor and fact.

“I am confident that she is not only prepared, but will do her utmost best to answer any and all allegations raised against her,” the President said in a statement.

Aquino said that throughout the campaign, Legarda had enjoyed the “overwhelming support of voters,” reflective of her status as a senator and public official.

Biraogo said it was Legarda’s obligation under Section 8 of RA 6713 to declare the New York property in her SALN when she became a senator in May 2007.

“There is nothing in her SALN for 2011 which indicates where the Park Avenue unit is located in the US, how respondent acquired the said residential condominium unit, its current fair market value, and whether or not there were any improvements on the property,” he said.

But Legarda said that all her properties—including an apartment in New York bought by her former husband—were declared in her SALN since 2007.

Each count of violation of RA 3019 carries a prison term of five years, while a single violation of RA 6173 carries the penalty of removal from office.

Insisting that her SALNs for 2007 to 2011 were accurate, Legarda described Biraogo as one “paid by an extortionist PR and a senatorial candidate who wants to dislodge me from number one.”

Members of the NPC hinted at a possible withdrawal of support for the political party and allies of the Team PNoy candidate harassing Legarda.

The NPC members were hurting over the “character assassination” of Legarda.

NPC member Sen. Tito Sotto did not bother to mask his indignation at the way Legarda was being treated within Team PNoy.

“They are just making us (NPC) all the more unsupportive of the coalition with the NP and LP,” he said.

Digital attacks

NPC spokesman Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian said the “vicious attacks through text messages… and social media” against Legarda were “totally unfair” both to her and “the NPC as well.”

Gatchalian reminded Team PNoy that the NPC had given its “full support and commitment to all the senatorial candidates under the banner of Team PNoy,” including the candidate maligning Legarda.

Team PNoy includes the ruling Liberal Party (LP), the NPC to which Legarda belongs and the Nacionalista Party (NP).

Meanwhile, Binay issued a statement in support of Legarda who was one of his rivals in the 2010 vice presidential election.

“The allegations against her are obviously politically motivated and I’m confident she would get through this unscathed,” he said. “Senator Legarda, I can say, is a person with integrity.”

Members of Team PNoy also took turns defending Legarda.

Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon and senatorial candidate Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara urged voters to be more discerning of issues and to look beyond what Drilon described as a “venomous smear drive” against Legarda.

“I find the timing of questions raised against Senator Legarda on her SALN highly suspicious given the proximity of the May 13 elections. Why bring it up only now,” Drilon said.

Angara said the effort to sully Legarda “reveals the dark side of Philippine politics.”

“We should put a stop to all the mudslinging. Philippine politics should be a race to the top, built on a sober discussion of policies, platforms and issues. It should not be a question of pushing others to the bottom,” Angara said.

Reelectionist Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, also of Team PNoy, said he believed Legarda would preserve her hold on the No. 1 spot once the votes are tallied on May 13.

As this developed, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has tagged a certain publicist as orchestrating the “black propaganda” to derail his own reelection.

Trillanes said this was the same publicist who was supposedly behind the smear campaign against Legarda.

“Please don’t believe the lies spread through text messages that Sen. Loren Legarda and I have filed a bill lowering the benefits for soldiers, policemen and teachers. That is not true.—With reports from Tarra Quismundo and Gil C. Cabacungan


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: black propaganda , Elections , Legarda SALN , Loren Legarda , Philippines , Politics , senatorial candidates




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement