By Alexandria San Juan
Otso Diretso senatorial candidates and officials of the Liberal Party (LP) who were tagged in the latest ouster plot matrix released by Malacañang on Wednesday dismissed the allegations against them, adding that it was only a form of distraction on pressing government issues ahead of the May 2019 elections.
Former solicitor general and senatorial bet Florin Hilbay, who was included in the latest matrix outlining an ouster plot, said it was only a “sign of distraction” on the part of administration to divert the attention of the public on issues involving the administration.
“Parang may nasisiraan na yata talaga ng ulo. I think it’s a clear sign of desparation on their part [government]. Sila naman palagi yung nahuhuli na walang basehan. Walang batayan ‘yung kanilang mga sinasabi,” Hilbay said in an interview before Otso Diretso’s grand pre-election gathering at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City.
Earlier on Wednesday, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo presented a new matrix alleging Otso Diretso bets Hilbay and Gary Alejano, the LP, and the Magdalo group of conspiring with those tagged in the matrix released last month to discredit the administration and to boost the candidacy of opposition candidates.
“The President has received intelligence information that shows there is a deliberate conspiracy between certain groups to discredit this administration for purposes of this election,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Alejano also strongly denied the accusations against him, adding that it was only being used to destroy the image of the opposition before the midterm polls.
“The Palace has been releasing matrices without going through a validation process, and they have been proven wrong. I categorically state that I had no hand in any ‘Bikoy’ videos,” Alejano said.
“Their allegations are clearly false, malicious and irresponsible. I do not think the Filipino people believe Spokesperson Panelo,” the Magdalo representative added.
Meanwhile, LP president senator Francis Pangilinan, who is Otso Diretso’s campaign manager, also denied the “made-up” accusations against the group.
“This is the nth time that the Administration, when confronted with controversy, falsely accuses the LP of being involved in ouster plots. Gawa-gawa lang yan,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“Ang hindi gawa-gawa na dapat nilang ipaliwanag ay bakit walang nahuhuli na mga drug lord o pinaparushana na opisyal ng Customs sa paulit-ulit na pagpuslit ng tone-toneladang shabu sa Bureau of Customs. Iyan ang dapat nilang aksyunan,” he added.