[OPINION] Revelations weeks before the May 9 elections make the choice even clearer: Dirty old trapo politics OR gobyernong tapat?

WE, the Filipino people, have been clamoring for change and an honest government to clean up the corruption-infested Philippine government to make it really work to help uplift the lives of ALL Filipinos, and not just of the rich, powerful and the well-connected.

No matter what party you are supporting and what spirit color you are wearing, we all share these aspirations. The truth that was revealed in April, just weeks before the all-important May 9 elections, should make the choice clearer for us — those of us who truly love our country, are loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, and are committed to leaving a legacy of truth, freedom, and a strong democracy to the next generations.

Revelation #1: Sen. Leila de Lima is innocent

Senator Leila de Lima has been jailed for five years for drug charges and for allegedly being involved in the Bilibid drug trade to use money for her senatorial campaign in 2016.

On Thursday, April 28, alleged Visayas drug lord Erwin Espinosa, who has been detained, has retracted all his accusations against opposition Senator Leila De Lima, stating in a sworn counter-affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ):

“Any and all statement given during the Senate hearings, or in the form of sworn written affidavits, against Senator Leila De Lima are NOT TRUE.”

The affidavit stated Espinosa’s false statements was “a result of pressure, coercion, intimidation and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who instructed him to implicate the Senator into the alleged drug trade.”

“For this, undersigned apologizes to Senator De Lima,” said the affidavit, as reported by Rappler.

“But Espinosa has no intention of doing so since he was only coerced, pressured, intimidated and seriously threatened by the police. He has no other option but to invent stories for fear of his life and of his family,” the sworn affidavit further stated.

This vindicates De Lima for all the maliciously fabricated charges against her by the vindictive attitude and response of traditional politicians who made sure she would suffer the consequences of her exposing the truth about Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

The lies and disinformation about extrajudicial killings by the Duterte administration were even corroborated by forensics expert Raquel Fortun, attesting to the fact that some death certificates issued for victims of Duterte’s war on drugs had been falsified to show they died of natural causes instead of gunshot wounds, with some of them shot in the head.

Perpetuating this culture of impunity characteristic of traditional politicians who have no regard for the truth, human rights and the rule of law is deemed by many kababayans as the rationale behind the “Uniteam” — which they say unifies the crooks, plunderers, and convicted criminals in the government of the country.

They are now all rallying behind the candidacy of Bongbong Marcos, the son of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.

What can be a more compelling reason for them and other traditional politicians belonging to family dynasties to discredit and fight against the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan?

With zero corruption record and service to the poor and the marginalized sectors of society, Leni and Kiko vow to make all public officials who abuse their power be held accountable for their crimes against the Constitution and the Filipino people, put an end to family dynasties, and strictly enforce the transparency and disclosure requirements for public officials.

What can be a more powerful motivation, many people ask, for Sara Duterte Carpio, who is running against Pangilinan for VP, than to maintain the status quo and save her father from impending investigations by the international courts for his human rights violations in his war on drugs?

Revelation #2: Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte would never debate

“Mr. Marcos, can you really be a good president if you do not answer serious questions? Can you really be a good president if you are not doing serious interviews?…Are you hiding something from the public? Are you hiding something, Mr. Marcos?” BBC’s Howard Johnson asked Bongbong Marcos who just walked away without a response.

Bongbong also walked away from interviews and press conferences with journalists who ask hard questions, as he walked away from debates, except those ran by his “allies” in media, including SMNI — the news network owned by U.S. fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who endorsed Marcos, and whose network and church are being used as a propaganda machine for Duterte and Marcos.

Ten days before the election, presidential candidate VP Leni Robredo challenged Marcos to a one-on-one debate, saying in a statement on Friday, April 29:

Inaanyayahan ko si Ginoong Marcos na makipagdebate, para mabigyan ang taumbayan ng pagkakataong makaharap siya at matanong tungkol sa mga kontrobersiyang pumapalibot sa kanya. We owe it to the people and to our country.”

Indeed, a candidate who has nothing to hide, who is knowledgeable about domestic and international laws and issues, who has a clear vision and platform to solve the country’s problems, who can articulate all of these issues well in a truthful manner, would just jump on any opportunity to make his answers known to the public, ready to be fact-checked, debunked and tested to help them make a conscientious informed decision.

Marcos is not that candidate. He turned this challenge down. He has failed the truth, transparency and accountability tests all throughout his campaign, and in fact, his life. How can we trust this man? If as a candidate he could not fulfill these requirements we are demanding from the president, how much more when he has already been accorded with the public trust and the tremendous power of the highest office of the Philippines?

Marcos has not been truthful and accountable about his family’s abuse of power since martial law, the P203-B estate tax they have not yet paid up to now, his misrepresentation about his educational and professional achievements, his use of fake news and disinformation to rebrand his family so he can go back to power. He has been denying about the use of paid troll farms to discredit his critics, political opponents, and peddle lies about him and his family for a publicity stint.

Bongbong said he has no trolls. He challenged people to show him one because they don’t exist.

The truth is: TROLLS EXIST. Troll farms exist. And there is now proof that we need to see that reveal who these trolls are, where they are, the fake news/information they peddle in real time, with our own eyes. I will report on this in-depth. ABANGAN! (To be continued)

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989. She was a news anchor, TV host and radio commentator and public service host for ABS- CBN and DZMM. She is now working on her advocacies independently, serving the Filipino audience using different  media platforms. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos. Also on Twitter, Instagram: Gel Santos Relos


Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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