Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mudslinging ushers in campaign period

by Christine Herrera

Original Story: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNation.htm?f=2010/january/5/nation1.isx&d=/2010/january/5

The intense rivalry among candidates has triggered a slew of mudslinging even before the election campaign period starts on Jan. 9.

This early, three political camps are stinging over the black propaganda their rivals have allegedly been spreading.

Lakas-Kampi CMD presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro dared his rivals to do public service, not cheap publicity stunts at the expense of the poor, after he was portrayed as “uncompassionate” when he chose to work quietly as chief of the National Disaster Coordinating Council during the devastation brought about by storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.

Also claiming to be a victim of a smear campaign, Senator Loren Legarda, vice presidential bet of the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Nacionalista Party, had to issue a statement belying reports that she has filed a bill seeking to reduce the salary of public school teachers and soldiers.

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, senatorial candidate of NP-Makabayan accused the Armed Forces of masterminding a move to disqualify him before the Commission on Elections.

Teodoro’s campaign handlers are quick to see through the politically-motivated vilification campaign.

“We watched with disbelief how Professor Prospero de Vera shot down the chances of Teodoro in the presidential elections for the failure of his strategists to milk and exploit for free publicity the devastation wrought by the two typhoons,” said Saranggani Gov. Miguel Dominguez, the ruling party’s president and spokesman for Teodoro’s presidential campaign.

Dominguez challenged De Vera to be forthright and tell the public that he was in fact working for another presidential candidate.

He said Teodoro marshaled the government’s limited resources amid an overwhelming tragedy, and his “conduct is above politics and beyond moral reproach.”

“While image does matter to him [Teodoro], he doesn’t consciously and deliberately create it for political purposes. To Gibo, character is image. Character is everything,” Dominguez added.

The NPC took up the cudgels for Legarda, who is now in a statistical tie with Liberal Party’s Senator Mar Roxas in the surveys for the vice presidential race, and strongly condemned the “unwarranted, blatantly false and scurrilous black propaganda” being waged against the running mate of Nacionalista Party’s standard-bearer, Senator Manuel Villar.

Valenzuela City Rep. Rex Gatchalian, NPC spokesman, referred to text messages being circulated by anonymous sources claiming that Legarda had filed a bill seeking to reduce the salaries of public school teachers and military personnel.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Gatchalian said. “On the contrary, Senator Legarda had filed a bill precisely seeking to increase the salaries and upgrade the positions of teachers and she also co-authored a resolution seeking the same for uniformed military personnel and civilian employees of the Department of National Defense.”

Gatchalian said Legarda actually filed Senate Bill 1611, entitled “An Act Upgrading the Minimum Salary Grade Level of Teachers from Salary Grade 10 to 19.”

Original Story: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNation.htm?f=2010/january/5/nation1.isx&d=/2010/january/5

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