The rivals of Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo in the May 2016 elections are clutching at straws and taking desperate swings in an attempt to draw away support from the tandem.
First—contrary to Duterte’s image of using guns over diplomacy—Duterte said he would concede the contested land in the West Philippine Sea if China would build him a train: “Build me a train around Mindanao, build me train from Manila to Bicol,” he said in a press conference on April 7.
It’s obvious that Duterte’s toughness is only meant for small fry. When faced with a larger power, despite the support of the international community for the Philippines, Duterte would much rather concede Philippine territory. For a train.
“Ito ba ang sinasabi nilang matapang? Ano pa kaya ang ibebenta ni Mayor?” Daang Matuwid Spokesperson Barry Gutierrez asked in a statement. “Katapatan sa bayan ang pangunahing katangian na kailangan sa isang Presidente. Ito ang katangian na hindi natin nakikita kay Mayor Duterte. Para sa tren, ibebenta hindi lang ang ating teritoryo, kundi pati ang kabuhayan ng ating mga mangingisda at pagkain ng ating mga mamamayan.”
Meanwhile on social media, Duterte’s rabid supporters has been circulating a fake sample ballot wherein Roxas and Robredo’s names were highlighted in yellow. In addition, these rumormongers alleged that due to the inclusion of “Daang Matuwid” as a nickname, the vote-counting machines will only read votes in their name.
“‘Pag kalaban, kung ano-anong paninira ang binabato kahit kasinungalingan. ‘Pag hinamon, susubukang i-bully, sindakin, takutin. Wala pa ang Mayo naglalatag na ng kuwento na kapag natalo, dinaya,” Gutierrez lamented.
Adding to Roxas’ statement yesterday saying Duterte is a threat to democracy, Gutierrez said, “Kung meron kang pangulo na hindi ma-control ‘yung kanyang mga supporters sa kanilang pangbubully online, meron ka talagang isang pangulo na threat sa ating demokrasya.”
Other than that, legal counsel of the National People’s Coalition (NPC) Goyo Larrazabal also questioned the use of “Daang Matuwid” as Roxas and Robredos’ nicknames in the COMELEC Ballot. The NPC is supposedly supporting the Grace Poe-Chiz Escudero tandem.
Funnily enough, Larrazabal was COMELEC Commissioner in 2010, where he himself allowed the use of nicknames in the ballots. For Gutierrez, the timing of Larrazabal’s comment was suspicious.
“Unang-una, October 15 pa lang nag-file na ang mga candidates, nandoon na ‘yang COC na ‘yan. Eh kung talagang interesado siyang kuwestiyunin ‘yan eh di sana noon pa lang nagreklamo na siya, meron naman, alam naman, [naging] COMELEC Commissioner siya. Alam naman niya kung ano yung proseso. Hindi ‘yung less than a month to go biglang gagawin mong isyu at parang kataka-taka.”
Gutierrez added, “Lahat ng ito naaayon sa patakaran ng COMELEC. Alam dapat ‘yan ni Goyo Larrazabal. Huwag na nating goyoin ang ating mga kababayan.”