President Duterte did not give a categorical answer when he was asked the question last Thursday, saying there are things better left unsaid.
Honesty an election issue? It depends, says Duterte
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Should honesty be an election issue? 

President Duterte did not give a categorical answer when he was asked the question last Thursday, saying there are things better left unsaid.

“It depends. It depends. If you’re hanging by the thread, of what good use would it be if it just creates trouble?” the President told reporters in a chance interview during the 122nd anniversary of the Philippine Army at Fort Bonifacio.  

“There are things left unsaid and there are things which you can answer correctly. OK?” he added. 

Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, recently drew criticism over a statement about lying candidates. Defending some senatorial bets of the administration, she claimed there is no candidate who does not lie and that honesty is no longer an issue in this election.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, she added, had lied when he claimed that government funds were used to buy the campaign shirts of former presidential aide Christopher Go. 

“Sinasabi ko, sa kanilang lahat, walang isang kandidato d’yan na hindi nagsisinungaling kaya hindi dapat nagiging issue ang honesty ngayon (I tell you, there is no candidate who does not lie so honesty should not be an issue now),” Carpio was quoted saying last March 6. 

Malacañang has refused to react to her remark but claimed it was not possible to say whether a candidate is honest unless one has “personal dealings” with the politician. 

Carpio, who also heads the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, later claimed she was helping the opposition candidates to “dig themselves out of their own hole” when she made the remark. She claimed the opposition uses “inaccurate, misleading statements and lies” when they attack other candidates or the President. 

“They know they are stretching the truth and yet they deny that they are lying,” the presidential daughter said in a statement also issued last March 7. 

“That is the reason why they should not attack other candidates about honesty because they are themselves liars. This is the truth. And this shows in their dismal performance in the race.”

The President has been using the phrase “fundamentally honest” to describe senatorial bet and former police chief Ronald dela Rosa. During an oath taking of members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan in San Juan last month, the party’s president Sen. Koko Pimentel said Duterte wants “honest candidates.” 

Meanwhile, Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez has reminded voters not to rely on surveys in choosing their candidates in the May 13 midterm polls. 

He also said in his Twitter account that the public should not simply ride on the bandwagon in selecting their local and national bets for the coming polls. 

“Surveys are not the best guide to who you should vote for,” Jimenez said.

Asked to elaborate, he noted that surveys “offer only a snapshot of a candidate’s popularity” and that this “does not reveal anything substantial about the candidate’s qualifications, character or potential as an elected government official.” – With Sheila Crisostomo

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