Opposition unfazed by Mar-Noy ‘rift’, says focus is on public issues
MANILA, Philippines – The opposition remains unfazed by the supposed rift between senatorial candidate Mar Roxas and former president Benigno C. Aquino III, stressing the need to focus on the issues of ordinary Filipinos with only 25 campaign days left before the May 13 elections.
Roxas’ campaign manager, Caloocan 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice, apparently blamed the former’s defeat in the 2016 presidential race to the former Chief Executive
“It was a conscious decision [to change colors] because one mistake [Roxas] made in 2016 was acting like Robin to [Aquino’s] Batman … and Robin will never be Batman,” Erice told the Inquirer.
Aquino’s younger sister, actress Kris, quickly came to his defense.
But former deputy speaker Erin Tañada, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc said this issue does not affect their slate’s unity.
“Ang istorya naman ng Otso Diretso ay hindi storya ng mga individual candidates. Ang istorya ng Otso Diretso ay storya ng mga mamamayang Pilipino. Hindi po ito tinitignan namin as a problema. May mas malaking problema ang taumbayan… So it does not affect us…” Tañada told reporters in a press conference in Quezon City Monday.
While admitting that Aquino, Roxas, and the Otso Diretso slate are not perfect, Alejano said this issue should now be laid to rest.
“Tingin ko opinyon lamang ‘yun ng campaign manager ni Mar Roxas at nakaraan na eh, tapos na. Ang Otso Diretso at ang indibidwal na myembro ng Otso Diretso ay hindi naka-base sa istorya ng Liberal Party o ni President Aquino,” the former Marine officer said.
“So far, personal kong karanasan, maganda naman ‘yung samahan namin… I would like to state as well na hindi kami perpekto, hindi rin perpekto ang nakaraang administrasyon, si Sneator Mar, si President Aquino hindi rin sila perpekto may kakulangan din. Pero ‘yun ay nakaraan at tinitignan natin kung paano ma-improve,” he added.
Fake news and funds
Gutoc meanwhile defended Roxas and Aquino, saying the two are often victims of “fake news.”
“The two are victims of a fake news phenomenon… The Yolanda funds you always question that to PNoy (Aquino), you also ask Marawi funds where is it right now?” the peace advocate asked.
Gutoc also said they would continue speaking out on pressing issues, regardless of how this strategy could affect their chances of winning.
“We stick to what we do and that is to raise our issues… The role of the opposition is to study, critique the standing issues of the day,” she said.
Tañada also belied claims that they have just been opposing the Duterte administration.
“I beg to disagree na we are always opposing. No, these are legitimate issues we raise but the other side does not like to engage,” he added.
Alejano meanwhile described their criticisms as a sign of their passionate stance and firm principles.
“We’re just passionate on issues… These should be election issues na tatayuan ng mga kandidato, and we cannot in any way sacrifice our principles, our vision for this country, just because we wanted votes,” he said.
“Napakaimportante ‘yung tumatayo, ‘yung nagsasalita at nagpapaliwanag ng kanyang mga plano. Hindi pupwedeng tahimik, iniiwasan ‘yung mga debate, mga issues at idaan na lang sa pa-cute sa tarpaulin at billboards,” Alejano added. /gsg
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