‘Attacks won’t dent Noy popularity, daang matuwid’
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As far as Malacañang is concerned, the popularity of President Aquino is rock solid and attacks from Vice President Jejomar Binay will not make any dent in the runup to the May 2016 general elections, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said yesterday.

Binay, who heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), has repeatedly described the Aquino administration as “inept and insensitive” to the plight of the poor, and that the ruling Liberal Party is apparently laying down the groundwork for a 20-year dictatorial rule.

Coloma took exception, however, to claims about authoritarian rule.

He said Binay’s claims simply defy logic, pointing out Aquino only wants continuity of the reforms he started and that government is preparing for credible elections and a smooth transition to the next administration.

Coloma said the need for the straight path and good governance to continue beyond the term of Aquino was crucial for the country to achieve sustained growth, whoever would be elected into office in 2016.

Binay’s continued attacks against the administration apparently divided Malacañang spokespersons in how to counter attack.

Coloma, for his part, prefers to be diplomatic while presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda engages in a word war with Binay’s spokesmen.

Reporters covering Malacañang observed how “cheap and trivial” the issues have become, to the point where Lacierda, a lawyer, voluntarily described Binay’s true state of the nation address as “charot,” which is Filipino gay slang for joke.

One journalist lamented how the political discourse has deteriorated.

“It’s shameful that spokespersons – who are supposed to be respectable – engage in such lingo,” one of them said.

While insiders believe the so-called “Samar” faction in Aquino’s Cabinet may have perished after Binay resigned and started attacking the administration, differences in the approach or strategy in media communications remain obvious.

“Ha! Ha! I love it that Vice President Binay is marching to the beat of our drums! The line in the sand has been drawn since VP Binay bitterly attacked the President after having failed to secure the endorsement of President Aquino,” Lacierda said.

“It is ‘daang matuwid’ (straight path) versus ‘daang baluktot’ (crooked path),” the spokesman said, as he continued to attack Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado.

“Mr. Vice President, also a reminder to you, what have you been doing for the past five years? I drink Coke Zero. With due respect, please get our trivia straight,” Lacierda said of Binay, who advised him to cut back on his coffee as mention of his name makes his “blood rise.”

“I expected that you won’t get a simple trivia correct because up to now, you cannot even tell the truth on the allegations of corruption against you,” Lacierda told Palace reporters in a message he sent.

A sober and softer diplomatic approach is used by Coloma in his turn to speak for Aquino – usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

They all take turns and it is Lacierda’s turn to speak every Monday and Wednesday while Fridays and Saturdays are assigned to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

“Our focus is the issue at hand. The focus in on the platform of the straight path governance,” Coloma, who supervises the entire state media, told reporters in a briefing.

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