To my friend, Mayor Digong, let me say this: I can look you straight in the eye. I have nothing to do with any black propaganda against you, said Roxas in an interview in Cotabato City on Saturday, October 17.
The accusation hurled by Duterte could be fatal to Roxas, who has been a consistent cellar dweller in Mindanao surveys for presidential preference.
Duterte, well-loved and respected figure in Mindanao, has topped the surveys by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS), beating United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay and independent Senator Grace Poe.
Political analysts say the Duterte votes in Mindanao would gravitate to Binay, if Duterte does not run in the 2016 election. This stand was echoed no less by Duterte, when asked about where his votes would go if he dumps strong public clamor to take a crack at the presidency.
Duterte is out of the presidential race as he has not filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President.
For the “black propaganda” against him posted in a Facebook account by a journalist said to be identified with the PR group of Roxas, Duterte said he would retaliate with his own smear campaign against the LP standard bearer.
The journalist had claimed that Duterte is not running in the 2016 presidential race because he has cancer of the throat. Duterte said he was not suffering from any life-threatening disease.
Anybody but Roxas, said Duterte last week in an interview after lambasting Roxas for his role in the smear attack.
Apparently aware of the fatal impact of Duterte’s blast on his standing on Mindanaoan voters, Roxas denied he had anything to do with journalist Philip Lustre, who wrote last month the story about Duterte having cancer.
Interviewed by reporters after the oath taking of new LP members in Cotabato City, Roxas said he was surprised by the accusations made by Duterte.
Roxas assured the Davao mayor that he would not allow nor condone such practices in his camp. He said Duterte is a long-time friend of his.
I can tell you, my friend Digong, cross my heart, I have nothing to do with Lustre or what he had written about, and I never allowed, I will never tolerate, those kinds of actions, said Roxas.