Duterte camp calls Poe a ‘puppet’ for defending Danding Cojuangco on coco levy
DAVAO CITY—The camp of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has described rival Sen. Grace Poe as “a puppet” of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. after she defended the businessman over the controversial coco levy fund.
Lawyer Paola Alvarez, spokesperson of PDP-Laban, said the statement was spoken by someone deeply indebted and wants to payback the businessman accused of amassing wealth by forcing coconut farmers to pay tax 40 years ago.
The coconut farmers’ funds were allegedly used by Cojuangco to acquire United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), San Miguel Corporation and other businesses.
Cojuangco is President Benigno Aquino III’s uncle.
“The statement could only be coming from one who is not only a lapdog but at most a puppet—someone who clearly is only in the running for the highest position because of being beholden to her benefactor,” Alvarez said in a statement.
“Absolving Danding, who is your backer, is protecting his interests. It also means that the injustice committed against Filipino coconut farmers continues. It means you allow that,” Alvarez said.
In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that coco levy assets should benefit coconut farmers. However, in 2015, Aquino issued Executive Orders (EOs) 179 and 180 that aimed to privatize shares in UCPB, San Miguel and the Coconut Industry Investment Fund Oil Mill Group. RAM
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