by CATHERINE S. VALENTE
The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday accused the Liberal Party (LP) of hatching a “black propaganda” and a “psychological warfare operations” to derail his presidential bid.
In a statement, Duterte’s camp said that the ruling party wanted to paint Duterte as a pro-American candidate hiding behind the platform of federalism to grant US companies access to Mindanao’s rich mineral resources, particularly metallic ores.
“The information came from a staff member of an LP stalwart who was not identified by the source,” said the statement.
Duterte’s camp claimed that the hatchet job, which was revealed to them by an insider, was planned somewhere in Western Mindanao where the LP has diehard members.
“The source reportedly attended one of those meetings. The scheme will reportedly roll out next week in time for the final half of the presidential campaign and which also coincides with the first week of the campaign period for the local election,” it said.
The mayor’s camp maintained that Duterte is far from being close to the US because he is known to be critical of US government policies in Mindanao.
“The same source said the Liberal Party will use allied local government officials to ‘destroy’ Duterte in Mindanao where the maverick city mayor is very popular,” the statement added.
Several surveys showed that 47 percent of the voting population of Mindanao wants Duterte to become the next president of the Philippines.
“That figure has been rock solid for Duterte who elevated crime, illegal drugs and corruption as national issues, something no presidential candidate has ever done before,” the mayor’s camp said.
“He has been steadily gaining ground since the start of the campaign period and is now in a virtual statistical tie with Grace Poe in poll surveys,” it added.
Last month, Duterte blasted LP presidential bet Manuel Roxas 2nd for reportedly smuggling airplanes for the use of a miner-friend who owns a mining company in Agusan del Sur.
Duterte’s spokesman Peter Laviña described the demolition job as “diabolical and a desperate move to resuscitate a ‘dying’ campaign of Roxas.”
“No amount of money and devilish plot can revive Roxas’ candidacy. This only affirms our conviction that they see Duterte as the strongest candidate with a realistic shot at winning the presidency,” Laviña said.
He noted that the plot could also benefit Sen. Grace Poe.
“The LP will also allegedly try to picture Duterte as a coddler of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as well as an ally of the communist-led New People’s Army,” he said.
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