The Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP) on Friday accused the Aquino administration of launching a black propaganda campaign against its standard- bearer Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ostensibly with a view to discrediting him ahead of the May 2016 elections.
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, claimed that allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd are already preparing to file charges against Duterte for his supposed role and involvement in extra-judicial killings as mayor of Davao City.
“The charges reportedly stemmed from affidavits executed by a ranking police officer and supposed self-confessed gunmen,” Laviña said in a statement.
“We view this development with serious cause for concern,” he added.
Laviña tagged supposed legal action as a desperate move by administration bets “who are threatened by the surge in the popularity and voter preference for Duterte whose numbers continue to rise in all surveys.”
“There is no doubt in our mind that momentum is on our side. This ploy to resurrect the worn-out allegations against the mayor is a vain and desperate attempt to stop that momentum,” he said.
Laviña questioned the timing of the charges that will be filed and pointed out that the case could have been filed earlier when Duterte was not yet running in the May 9 polls.
“Certainly, they had all the opportunity, time, resources and wherewithal to file those charges when Duterte was a virtual non-entity in national politics. More so when he was not yet a declared presidential candidate. But now that he is on the heels of being elected the first President from the South, a Mindanaoan [native of southern Mindanao]with strong Visayan roots, in more than 50 years, his opponents are training their guns on him to arrest his irreversible march to victory,” he said.
“We deplore these dirty tricks. We abhor these under-handed tactics. We will resist this vain plot to pin him down because of his strong stand against crime and corruption. We warn them of the repercussions of such diabolical plan. The people will not be swayed by these black propaganda and amateurish schemes,” Lavina added.
Duterte earlier candidly admitted that he has killed many criminals during his stint as mayor of Davao City.
But in a recent presidential debate, the tough-talking mayor insisted that he never engaged in extra-judicial killings, but admitted, “If I become President, it would be bloody because we will order the killing of all criminals, ang mga durugista [drug addicts]at drug lords.”
He did not apologize for having killed criminals, but qualified that when he goes after criminals, “I do it in accordance with the rule of law. I will kill, I will continue to kill criminals.”
If elected President, Duterte said, “I will use the military and the police to go after the criminality and drugs flooding the country.”
Malacañang denied that the Aquino administration is behind a rumored case to be filed against Duterte.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Jr. said the administration does not use black propaganda against those running against its standard-bearer.
“Walang proyekto ang gobyerno na siraan si Mayor Duterte o sino mang kandidato [The government has no project to smear Mayor Duterte or any other candidate],” Coloma told reporters in a text message.