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Roxas denies spreading Duterte rumor

It’s not me.

Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas denied being behind a “black propaganda” campaign against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

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READ: Duterte’s ‘battle vs cancer’ black propaganda—spokesperson

Duterte, who was being touted as a presidential contender, blamed “the Roxas camp” in a radio interview on Friday as being behind the rumor that he had throat cancer and was therefore unfit to be president.

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The feisty mayor was clearly incensed, saying, “I’m waiting for the right time… I will tell the entire Philippines why this person should not be elected president.”

READ: Duterte tells Roxas: Stand on track record, stop smearing rivals

In response, Roxas on Saturday issued a statement saying the “LP would not resort to black propaganda to destroy its rivals as claimed by Duterte.”

“I will never wish it be visited on anyone, much more so to Mayor Digong Duterte, whom I regard as my friend. My family suffered through two tragedies due to cancer,” said Roxas.

Roxas said that in his long years in politics, he had never engaged in a smear campaign against his rivals. “I have always subscribed to the principle that how you campaign is how you will govern. What we are fighting for is the continuation of ’daang matuwid’ and not to destroy our rivals,” he added.

In the radio interview, Duterte said he was hurt by the “misinformation” about his health. He denied having been diagnosed with cancer but admitted that he was suffering from ailments caused by excessive drinking and smoking in the past.

He revealed that it was his estranged wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, who had cancer and also underwent a heart bypass operation abroad.

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Initially Duterte refused to identify who was behind the rumors of his ill health but later said that “one of the PR personnel from the Roxas camp was behind the black propaganda.”

Duterte said many people wanted him to run because of the “lack of choices” in the coming election—with Sen. Grace Poe likely to be disqualified and Vice President Jejomar Binay likely to be arrested.

LP exec chimes in

LP political affairs chief and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said the party respected Duterte’s opinions on Poe and Binay, adding that “he (Duterte) may have some basis for saying that.”

Erice said that Poe’s disqualification case would be decided primarily on the evidence to be presented and not on “external intervention.”

Erice also dismissed speculation that Binay would be jailed during the campaign period on corruption charges. “I doubt it (jailing of Binay) since litigation will take time and there’s an issue of immunity,” said Erice.

Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said the LP would continue with its campaign plans “without thinking that any of the other candidates would be disqualified or would discontinue running for one reason or another.”

Treñas said the LP will win the elections “under any circumstances.”

Still might run

Duterte frustrated his supporters when he did not file a certificate of candidacy for president before Friday’s deadline. He filed for reelection as mayor of Davao City.

But speculation of Duterte’s possible presidential run continues to churn. His party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), fielded its secretary general Martin Dino as its presidential candidate just minutes before the close of filing on Friday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Duterte has until Dec. 10 to change his mind. As a member of PDP-Laban, Duterte could be fielded as a substitute for Dino.

Duterte’s daughter, Sara, told supporters via Instagram on Friday that her father had no money and no machinery to run a presidential campaign. Her father said he wasn’t interested in becoming president.

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TAGS: daang matuwid, Digong Duterte, duterte, Elections 2016, Liberal Party, Mar Roxas, Rodrigo Duterte
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