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Gov’t assures level playing field in 2016

The Aquino administration will play fair and never resort to black propaganda against political opponents in the upcoming national and local elections, Malacañang asserted yesterday.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte dispelled allegations the administration may resort to a “legal coup d’etat” to beat its rivals in the 2016 polls, insisting that applying dirty tricks has never been a policy of President Aquino.

“The President has never condoned any black propaganda, does not condone its doing, in fact, has been a victim of it many times himself. As such, that is not the policy, not the personality of President Aquino,” Valte said in a Palace news conference.

“Kahit hindi patas ang laban sa kanya, laging patas lumaban ang Pangulong Aquino,” she added.

Lawyer Harry Roque Jr. earlier warned of an alleged Liberal Party plot to eliminate the rivals of administration standard-bearer Manuel A. Roxas II through the courts.

Roque said there were rumors circulating in the legal community that Roxas has asked Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and other lawyers to make sure Sen. Grace Poe is disqualified from the presidential polls due to questions about her citizenship.

There are also alleged efforts by the camp of Roxas to imprison Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and prevent Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte from running for president.

If the three rivals are eliminated from the race, Roque said the only remaining rival of Roxas is Sen. Miriam Santiago who has been rating poorly in surveys. “The irony of this “legal coup” is that it is happening under the watch of President Aquino, the son of two icons of democracy,” Roque said.

Roque said the voters must closely watch administration allies in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Commission on Elections, and the Supreme Court to ensure their decisions on poll cases are guided by the rule of law.

Roxas, former Interior and Local Government Secretary, has enjoyed an increase in his number in recent presidential polls but continues to trail behind Poe and Binay.

Valte, however, brushed aside allegations that the administration was trying to influence the decision of independent institutions through its appointees. “Six degrees of separation is a good party game but it has no place in public discourse,” she said.

“Conspiracy theories are founded on six degrees of separation and not on solid legal evidence so I would rather not comment on these allegations,” she added. (GENALYN KABILING)