NAGA CITY, MAY 6, 2013 (INQUIRER) – The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is expecting an intensified “black propaganda” campaign against the group’s senatorial candidates as the May 13 elections draw near.

UNA secretary-general and campaign manager Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said that he expects the black propaganda to reach its peak by election day.

Tiangco said the smear campaign against UNA candidates is getting dirtier by the day.

He decried the intensified attempts to discredit candidates and he reiterated UNA’s call for a new politics that focuses on issues rather than attacking personalities.

“In the past few days we have seen how the other coalition has shifted to high gear in their mudslinging,” Tiangco said.

Johnny Garcia, campaign manager of UNA senatorial candidate Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, denounced the series of incidents of a suspicious nature that have occurred in the past days.

“Without a doubt, these are dirty tricks that are obviously meant to harass, intimidate and provoke Jack, our staff and supporters,” Garcia said.

Garcia recounted that late last week, members of Enrile’s campaign staff in charge of communications received calls from some reporters who were seeking to verify press releases that cast the candidate in a negative light.

When this was checked, Garcia said it was discovered that two fake email addresses using Enrile’s name had been sending out messages, statements and releases without the knowledge and approval of the candidate or anyone from his team.

Garcia cited that last April 29 in Bulan, Sorsogon, a man came from behind and hit Enrile on the nape and shouted invectives while the candidate was giving out campaign materials to the crowd that attended a campaign rally.

He said that even as the man attempted to hit Enrile again, the candidate merely turned around and tossed a campaign T-shirt to the man.

“Clearly, an act of provocation,” Garcia said.

After the incident, Enrile and his team proceeded to a nearby fast food restaurant but some media reports later stated that Enrile’s group asked the other customers to leave.

“That did not happen at all. Jack and the team merely had snacks along with the other customers there. I see these as moves to get Jack and the other UNA candidates out of the top 12 in survey rankings,” Garcia said.

“The other team has the resources and manpower and therefore the audacity to pull these dirty stunts,” Garcia added.

He said that there were attempts to bring down other candidates, particularly the relatives of the rest of UNA’s “Three Kings” or the founders of the alliance that included former President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

He cited that weeks ago, UNA senatorial candidate Nancy Binay was at the receiving end of critics in the Internet.

Binay emphasized that she chose to focus instead on bringing the issues direct to the people during campaign sorties.

Another UNA senatorial candidate San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, meanwhile, was the subject of negative campaigning after he was linked to having accounts abroad.

Tiangco said that the administration coalition is using campaign tactics reminiscent of the method allegedly used by the allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

‘Demolition job’

Senatorial candidates from UNA condemned the demolition job against Sen. Loren Legarda said to be orchestrated by a fellow candidate in the administration coalition who wants to become the next Senate president.

Vice President Jejomar Binay defended Legarda, saying the allegation was politically motivated.

Sources told The STAR that the senatorial candidate behind the expose’ against Legarda, is also eyeing a higher post in 2016, using the Senate presidency as a springboard.

Legarda came under fire recently after reports said she did not declare a Manhattan property and a Makati residence in her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs). She denied the allegations.

No intervention

The leadership of the Liberal Party-led coalition will not intervene in the ongoing rift among the top three senatorial candidates of Team PNoy.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said there is no need for them to mediate or negotiate the bickering between Legarda, Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano.

“We will not talk to them anymore. They knew how to fix this,” he said.

Roxas downplayed the issue, saying this does not affect the campaign of the nine other Team PNoy candidates, especially now that all of them are focused on the final stretch of the campaign.

He expressed hope that the issue would end soon although he would accept it if the issue might be blown out of proportion, noting that the other parties have apparently nothing against the senatorial administration candidates.

Palace tones down Team PNoy squabbling

Malacañang insisted the observation on squabbling - which Roxas acknowledged - does not hold water as pre-election surveys show a 9-3 or 10-2 turnout for Team PNoy.

“Of course, we don’t agree with that observation. There are several groups who are saying that but we don’t agree and we don’t believe in that particular observation,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told state-run dzRB. – With Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez

Binay backs Loren amid alleged black prop ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 05/05/2013 2:25 PM | Updated as of 05/05/2013 2:25 PM

MANILA - Vice President Jejomar Binay has given his support for reelectionist Senator Loren Legarda amid the allegations being thrown against her.

In a statement, Binay believes Legarda is a person of “integrity.”

“The allegations against her are obviously politically motivated, and I’m confident she would get through these unscathed. The Filipino people trust her and in her commitment to be their voice in the Senate,” he said.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is helmed among others by Binay, earlier dropped Legarda from its roster because of her failure to show up in several sorties.

UNA said Team PNoy, where Legarda is a guest candidate, is already slowly disintegrating.

Legarda called a press conference last week to lash out at critics, who have insinuated that she did not include in her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) all her properties such as an apartment in New York.

A teary-eyed Legarda blamed a fellow candidate for the latest attack. While she did not name the person, she said the same person spread wild rumors about President Benigno Aquino III’s mental health in 2010.

"Ang tawag nga ng media sa kanya, 'Boy Kuryente,'" she said, referring to the candidate's supposed reputation for spreading false information.

Legarda said one of her friends, who is a columnist, forwarded to her an e-mail containing the story about the condo unit sent by a certain "Willie F.," whom she identified as the candidate's public relations officer.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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