‘Otso’ Senate bets: Supporters from LGUs wary of inclusion in narco-list
MALABON, Philippines – President Duterte’s recent release of the narcolist, or the list of elected officials supposedly involved in the illegal drugs trade has prompted some local government unit (LGU) officials to withdraw public support for the opposition Senate candidates.
Such was the explanation of Otso Diretso Senate candidates Marawi City civic leader Samira Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on the lack of local officials’ support during their campaign sorties.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the names of 46 politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“They (local officials) just don’t want to be listed on the narco list. It’s about that, plain and simple,” Gutoc said in a press conference at Balsa sa Niugan Restaurant here.
“Natatakot pa sila na with the chilling effect of all the things that are happening in our country, ayaw nilang masira ang kanilang IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment)-releasing at mailista sila sa narco,” she added.
‘Climate of fear’
Hilbay, meanwhile, noted that the Duterte administration has been “very successful” in generating a “climate of fear,” which may have prompted local government officials to shun opposition candidates.
“That creates the fear among the local government so they try to err on the side of caution so nagsasara na lang sila ng mga pintuan nila doon sa Otso Diretso,” he rued.
‘Timing is suspect’
Tañada said the release of the narco list’s timing is suspect, surmising that it was to stem the support that the Otso Diretso bets have been gaining.
He pointed out that prior to the release of the list, President Duterte said that the opposition candidates are “going straight to hell,” and went on attacking them one by one.
“Para sa amin, highly suspect nga yung timing ng itong ginawa ng administration. Ito lang ay nagpapakita na lumalakas kami maski hindi nga rin kami hinaharap ng local government officials,” he said.
‘Private support for Otso’
For his part, Alejano pointed out that there are local government officials who are supporting the opposition slate privately.
He added that local officials are aware that they are being threatened not to show their support to the opposition.
“I want to explain na marami pong sumusuporta sa amin privately,” Alejano said.
“They know what’s happening in the country and they know na tinatakot sila,” he added.
He, however, said that he is confident that local government officials are supporting them in their own ways.
“Naiintidihan po natin but I am confident that in their own ways, they are going to support Otso Diretso,” Alejano said. / gsg
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