DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 April) – Senatorial candidate lawyer Luke Espiritu warned of a “repressive regime” if presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, will win in the May 9 general elections.
In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Espiritu, who is running under the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), said the country would have the “most repressive type of elite rule” under the leadership of Marcos Jr. and Duterte, who are currently the frontrunners based on recent surveys.
He believed the two could not deliver on their campaign promises, adding that the wide popularity that the running mates receive from voters is founded on “illusions and fake news.”
“The Marcos-Duterte tandem may appear that they have the support and are leading based on surveys. But that kind of support is shallow… That kind of support will not last – make him President and make Sara Duterte vice president – that kind of support will easily be eroded. Why? Because they cannot deliver on the fantastic claims that they are spreading and because of that the support will be gone eventually,” he said.
Instead of addressing criticisms, Espiritu believed the government under Marcos Jr. and Duterte would resort to violence to quell dissent.
“It will be the worst type of elite rule and the most repressive type of elite rule but we will promise six years of struggle against that. That’s what we are promising,” he said.
Vice presidential candidate Walden Bello said the “character assassination” against him such as the filing of a cyber libel case, declaring him persona non grata in Davao City, and calling him a narcopolitician is indicative of “how they will handle criticisms.”
“In case of Sara Duterte, she has already revealed just by her persecuting me in this way — what to expect if she is vice president? You can see in the actions right now what the actions will be in the future,” he said.
Bello on Wednesday filed his counter-affidavit on the complaint of cyber libel against him at the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office. Afterwards he and Espiritu proceeded to the City Council to secure a copy of the resolution declaring the former persona non grata.
Photos of Bello inside the hall taking Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte’s chair and banging the gavel were circulating on social media.
The vice mayor, in a statement, took a swipe at Bello barging into the session hall without prior coordination.
“The Session Hall is open to anyone who desires to attend and observe the proceedings of the Council when the Sanggunian is ‘In Session.’ And when it is not, entry to the hall is subject to prior coordination with the SP secretary,” he said.
He said Bello and his companions were asked by the security personnel to leave the hall immediately.
“It is not clear to us what their intentions are. It is campaign season and this may be their way to gain traction and attention to their ailing campaign or for other reasons only known to them. Makita ra ninyo kung unsang klase ni nga mga tawo (This tells what kind of people they are),” he said.
He said Bello was treated with a fair degree of tolerance and respect like any other transacting citizen.
Bello countered that the declaration was not reflective of the sentiments of the people of Davao.
He said he was declared persona non grata after he criticized, among others, the crime situation and alleged corruption in the multi-billion peso coastal road project.
“I feel that the city council resolution was mainly written to please the mayor. The way I interpreted it, the people who drafted it and who signed it were mainly out to get on the good side of the mayor. If you are trying to please somebody and you want his or her political favor there is a tendency to ‘overkill’,” he said.
He said the resolution that declared him persona non grata was excessive as he merely expressed his criticisms on how the Duterte family ruled the city.
He said the declaration made the city the “laughing stock” of the country. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)