VICE presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Thursday President Benigno Aquino III was likely behind the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to file plunder charges against him earlier this week.
“That’s clear… He has been leading the attacks against me,” Marcos said, adding that he expected more accusations thrown at him in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
He noted that in the last several weeks, the President had attacked him several times, urging voters to reject his vice presidential bid because he has failed to recognize the “sins of Martial Law,” which was imposed by his father in 1972.
But Marcos, who is tied for first place in the vice presidential race according to most opinion surveys, said the non-stop tirades have given him even more supporters.
“The attention they’re giving me was so big. I’m thankful for the non-stop attention to my candidacy,” Marcos said.
In an interview in Quezon City, Marcos shrugged off the attacks as being “just part of politics.”
Marcos said he would not be goaded into mudslinging, saying it was a candidate’s platform that was most important.
“I am not politicking by maligning [others]. I am just answering the questions of people about how I can improve their lives. I explain to them my program of government,” he said.
In Parañaque City, Marcos met with 13 of the city’s 16 barangay chairmen at a fastfood outlet near the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran.
“I am glad that you are willing to listen to our call for national unity,” Marcos told the barangay officials in a city acknowledged as a Liberal Party bailiwick.
Having served as governor of Ilocos Norte, Marcos said he is aware of the concerns of local government officials, particularly in the barangay level, and that he would always work to promote the interest of local government units.
The Palace on Thursday denied it was involved in Marcos’ plunder case.
“Contrary to the claims of Senator Marcos, [the] government has no involvement in the reported case for plunder filed against him by an anti-corruption group. If the good senator strongly believes that he has nothing to do with the charges levelled against him, it is best that he respond in the proper forum,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a statement.
Former Zambales congresswoman Maria Milagros Mitos Magsaysay on Thursday challenged the Akbayan-led group to file similar plunder charges against Marcos’ rivals in the vice presidential race, administration Senators Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano, who were named by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles as having dealings with her.
Magsaysay said that in the spirit of fairness, the Ibalik ang Bilyones ng Mamamayan (iBBM), which singled out Marcos in its plunder raps before the Ombudsman, should also file charges against the other vice presidential candidates and other pro-administration officials like Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who Napoles tagged as her “teacher.”
The iBBM is mostly composed of youth leaders of Akbayan, whose top official Risa Hontiveros is a senatorial candidate of the ruling Liberal Party of Manuel Roxas II, the party’s standard bearer.
Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez is spokesman of the Liberal Party campaign, while some members of iBBM were volunteers of Roxas’ vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, rival of Marcos.
On Thursday, opposition Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito posted P30,000 bail in connection with a graft case filed against him over the purchase of high-powered firearms when he was still mayor of San Juan.
He arrived at the anti-graft court, went directly to the Fifth Division and posted a bail.
He said he would not besmirch his reputation just for a P2.1-million transaction.
He blamed the Zamora clan, the political rival of her mother, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, and the Ejercitos, as being behind the graft case.
Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, who is running against Ejercito’s mother for mayor, said Ejercito’s claims was “ridiculous,” adding that the Ombudsman’s decision to slap him with charges proved that the transaction was marred with irregularity.
Ejercito accused House of Representatives Minority Floor Leader Rolando Zamora of encouraging members of the city council, whom he led as mayor, to pin the blame on him on the P2.1-million firearms purchase for the police.
“When we were still allies, Ronnie Zamora called all councilors and wanted them to point the finger at me, but the councilors did not comply,” Ejercito said.
The case arose from the purchase of 20 high-powered firearms from HK Technical Defense System Inc. using San Juan City’s calamity funds when Ejercito was then the mayor in 2008.
The senator was accused of conspiring with the other local officials to use the city’s calamity funds to buy the guns. With Christine F. Herrera, Sandy Araneta and Rio N. Araja