By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Marawi civic leader and opposition bet Samira Gutoc said local government officials are scared to be included in the government’s narco-list should they openly support the “Otso Diretso” senatorial candidates.
She said this in response to talks that local government units (LGUs) seldom host the opposition bets.
“They just don’t want to be listed in the narco. It’s the chilling effect,” she said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay backed Gutoc’s claim and said President Duterte’s administration has created a “climate of fear” within the government.
“This administration has been very successful in creating a climate of fear and the effect is officials from local government units become afraid (of getting on the President’s bad side),” he said in Filipino.
Meanwhile, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano denied that majority of the LGUs support the administration senatorial candidates.
“Let us not insult the intelligence of the local government. They know what is happening to the country, at alam nilang tinatakot sila (and they know that they are being threatened),” Alejano said.
“Hindi naman porket hindi nagpapakita ay hindi na kami sinusuportahan. I want to express na marami pong sumusuporta secretly, privately (I want to express that just because they do not show themselves does not mean that they do not support us. I want to express that there are many who support us secretly, privately),” he added.
Former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said the timing of President Duterte’s recent tirade against the “Otso Diretso” bets, as well as the release of the narco-list, is “suspect,” and may have been done to make the campaign period more difficult for the opposition candidates as the election draws near.
“Ito ay nagpapakita na lumalakas kami, at hindi niya kami maharap (This only goes to show that we are getting stronger, and that he cannot face us),” he said.