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Mar denies hand in smear drive vs Duterte

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - After being linked to rumors that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was fighting cancer, Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II expressed confidence yesterday his friendship with the controversial city chief executive will remain strong.

Roxas said he is optimistic that Duterte will realize that he had nothing to do with the rumor, which surfaced after the mayor announced he was not running for president.

“I trust that our friendship is strong. I have faith that Mayor Digong (Duterte) is someone who recognizes reason and what is right and he will see that I had nothing to do with whatever is relayed to him or whatever intrigues that reached him,” Roxas told reporters yesterday.

Duterte earlier slammed Roxas for supposedly spreading information that he was suffering from throat cancer and vowed to unmask the LP presidential bet.

Duterte said journalist Philip Lustre Jr. was peddling the false information. He said Lustre is a public relations officer of Roxas.

Roxas denied spreading the rumor, saying he would never engage in a smear campaign against anyone.

He said his family had suffered through two tragedies due to cancer and he would never want anyone to experience it or use the issue for selfish ends. Roxas’ father, former senator Gerry Roxas, and his brother, Dinggoy, both died of cancer.

Roxas also clarified that Lustre is not connected in any way to him.

“I know his name as a reporter but we do not have any relationship with him,” the LP standard bearer said.

Roxas said he spoke to Duterte to explain his side.

“I am not behind that rumor and I would never order or condone such act,” he said. 

Can’t be Mar

At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Roxas, as champion of the administration’s straight path advocacy, would never resort to dirty tricks, much less to a friend like Duterte.

“Secretary Mar Roxas has already issued a statement in that regard. He never had any hand… He had no role there. He also mentioned in his statement that how he campaigns is how he will govern,” Lacierda said.

“As administration, we have much to share to the public. That’s why our platform is straight path,” Lacierda said.

He said President Aquino himself had stressed that the administration’s campaign must be based on platform and issues.

Lacierda said Roxas has communicated with Duterte through text and that the relationship between the two is okay.

“They’ve been friends for the longest time. Certainly, there are efforts (to iron things out),” he said.

Asked whether Duterte’s support would be of help to Roxas, Lacierda said yes as the mayor also backed the tandem of Aquino and Roxas in 2010.

“Of course, Mayor Duterte is a respected figure, not only in Davao City… not only in Mindanao, but also now in… the entire Philippines,” Lacierda said. – With Aurea Calica, Edu Punay

 

 

ACIRC

AQUINO AND ROXAS

AT MALACA

DAVAO CITY

DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE

DUTERTE

EDU PUNAY

EDWIN LACIERDA

GERRY ROXAS

LACIERDA

ROXAS

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