Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio believes that opposition candidates are “afraid” of President Duterte’s internet trolls so most of them will decide on their political plans by late September.
Carpio, one of the convenors of opposition coalition 1Sambayan, noted that Duterte’s trolls were stopping their nominees from announcing their bid for political positions.
He said this after he was asked about the status of the coalition’s nomination and vetting process for presidential and vice-presidential bids.
“The situation is fluid because you know these candidates are afraid. If they come out now, the trolls of Duterte will pound on them, so they will probably make their decision sometime in September or late September just before the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy (COCs),” Carpio said during 1Sambayan’s virtual presser on Thursday, July 15.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) set the filing of the COCs for the upcoming polls from October 1 to 8.
Carpio added that candidates for the elective posts for the May 2022 polls “don’t want to surface now because you know, the trolls of Duterte, the thousands of trolls all over the internet will attack you.”
“There is no way you can fight back because these are anonymous people. These are fake people,” he stressed.
No one has officially announced their candidacy for the country’s top positions. Even possible administration and opposition bets have remained mum about their plans.
The retired Supreme Court associate justice revealed that 1Sambayan has not closed its nomination for president and the vice president even after it already came out with a list of their bets on June 12.
“We have not closed our nominations, so anyone can come in or come back,” he said.
Carpio added that even Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who initially asked for his name to be removed from the list of nominees, “can come back if he wants to.”
The group is also talking with Senator Ralph Recto, the husband of 1Sambayan nominee, actress-turned-Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, who earlier declined the nomination.
Only Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV did not reject the nomination by 1Sambayan.
Aside from Santos-Recto, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, House Deputy Speaker and CIBAC party-list Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva, and Senator Grace Poe all said they do not have plans to run for president.