Imee won’t fight back after opposition takes swipe at ‘thieves’

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2019 07:24 PM

CAPTION: Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte during the campaign sortie of administration coalition Hugpong ng Pagbabago in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Feb. 18. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

LAOAG CITY - Ilocos Norte Governor and senatorial hopeful Imee Marcos on Monday said she won’t engage opposition bets from Otso Diretso after they made reference to “thieving” candidates in a recent sortie.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, without mentioning specific names, said last week the opposition slate may be suffering from low voter awareness but for good reason.

“Kaming mga Otso Diretso, hindi kami kilala. Hindi talaga kami kilala sa pagnanakaw,” Macalintal said in a sortie in Iriga City.

Asked whether she felt alluded to, Imee, whose father the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was accused of embezzling public funds during his two-decade rule, said it would be better not to engage them. 

“Panahon ng eleksyon ngayon. Talagang bakbakan, talagang nagbabatikusan, pero huwag na nating patulan ang lahat,” Marcos said in a press conference after the campaign sortie of the administration coalition Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) in Laoag. 

“Ang importante: remain focused. Ano ang talagang prayoridad natin, ano ang kailangan ng bansa, ano ang suportang mabibigay natin para kay Presidente Duterte at sa kanyang agenda ng pangkalahatan at malalim na pagbabago sa lipunan.”

HNP campaign manager and founder, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said that throwing personal attacks at political opponents “is not my kind of politics.”

“Sa akin, personal, hindi. It’s not my kind of politics, iyung aatakihin ang kalaban. Ang sinasabi ko lagi sa candidates, mag-focus tayo to i-present ang track record,” Duterte-Carpio said.

Senator Cynthia Villar, another HNP bet, said it has been the policy of her family not to launch “black propaganda” against their political opponents.

“Basta kami, sasabihin namin ang nagawa namin at ang gagawin pa namin sa future, that’s all,” she said.

Otso Diretso candidates are banking on their “clean” track record in attracting votes, as they point out that their opponents are mostly old names in politics, with some tainted by allegations of corruption.

HNP-endorsed senatorial candidates Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada were detained in 2013 after allegedly pocketing millions from their Priority Development Assistance Funds through ghost organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. 

The anti-graft court acquitted Revilla of plunder, but ordered him to return about P124 million in public funds. His pork barrel graft cases are still pending before the Sandiganbayan. Estrada, on the other hand, is just out on bail.

The Marcos family, meanwhile, still faces a number of cases in court, but continues to command a loyal following, especially in the so-called "Solid North."