Media accused of running anti-Leni presscon

A torrent of social media reactions hit the three presidential candidates who held a press conference on Easter Sunday to denounce alleged moves by Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp to get them out of the race. and overturn the will of the people before May 9. elections.

In response, the camps of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday accused the media of asking questions that made it appear that the press at the Manila Peninsula Hotel was an expressly anti- Robredo.

Ashley Acedillo, spokesperson for Lacson, said on ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart: “The discussion took this turn because of questions from the media. There would have been many more substantive issues that could have been discussed.

Ernest Ramel, president of Moreno’s Aksyon Demokratiko party, shared the same view.

“That’s why he went to this conversation that seemed anti-Leni Robredo. It was the media that asked these questions and eventually, of course, the feelings of the candidates came out about him,” he said. .

“It was like that because the questions from the media, they kept hammering on the VP Leni Robredo question, that’s why these gentlemen obliged them by answering how they really felt” , Ramel added.

He pointed out that some media portray the presidential election as a two-way race between Marcos Jr. and Robredo.

“What they are doing, I’m sorry, some media are presenting it as a two-way race. It’s very unfair,” Ramel said.

But the vice president herself remained unfazed by the clamor of her rivals, especially Domagoso, to withdraw her candidacy, and reminded her supporters that there were only 20 days left in the campaign before the Filipinos do not go to the polls to elect their next leaders.

Robredo was still trailing former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in most presidential polls, though his campaign has caught up in the past two months thanks to massive campaign rallies across the country and strong supporters on the networks. social workers, who also went from house to house. house to try to change the minds of Pinoy voters and elect him.

Asked about his “Remove Leni” statement, Domagoso told reporters, “Kapag malaking tao ang nangbu-bully, okay lang. Kapag ang commonong tao nangatwiran, bastos o masama na (When an influential person bullies others, it’s okay. When an ordinary person explains their point of view, they are either rude or mean.)”

“Parang, there is social injustice. Parang ang may karapatan lang na magsalita ay yung malalaking tao o matataas na katungkulan (It seems that there is social injustice. It seems that only people in higher positions are the only ones who have the right to speak),” said he declared.

Lacson and his running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, made clear Monday that they were not calling on anyone to step down, and Lacson called for respect as the election nears, especially for voters.

“With the campaign period for the May 9 elections approaching the home stretch, it is not too late for candidates to show respect: respect for each other, respect for the electoral process and, most importantly, respect for our constituents,” he said.

The three-term senator also maintained that he only attended the press conference to offer himself as an alternative.

Lacson, Domagoso and Gonzales said on Sunday they would not withdraw from the presidential race despite calls and supposed feelers from Robredo or his emissaries.

Domagoso said the “elitist” behavior of Robredo’s camp drives fans away.

“They already paid the price for this in 2019,” the mayor of Manila said, referring to Otso Diretso, the senatorial slate that Robredo endorsed in the midterm elections that year and including Samira Gutoc, the one of Aksyon’s senatorial candidates this year, was among them.

“Zinero sila kasi masyado talagang elitist (none of them could do it because they are too elitist),” added Domagoso.

Lacson’s own supporters on social media said people and members of the media should not have framed the rally as an attack on

Robredo, denouncing allegations of “toxic masculinity” or “misogynism” made against the former national police chief and his fellow male presidential candidates.

This is despite sharing their common experiences when asked to withdraw their candidacies, which would deprive others of alternatives to Marcos or Robredo, they added.

“The press scam is not a misogynistic act – rather a joint statement by these candidates for the ‘so-called’ call for the removal of the vice president… What is important before passing judgment is to not not be blinded by your support for any particular candidate,” a political science student named Michael (@bokimfr) said in his threaded tweets.

Some netizens also said they were fed up with Robredo’s camp and his supporters who always use the “gender card” to deflect criticism leveled at their favorite candidate instead of providing better arguments in their own defense.

“Keep throwing confusing accusations like ‘toxic masculinity’ at people who have raised valid (issues) against you and keep wondering why you are so widely looked down upon. Lather, rinse, repeat,” wrote Roman Surtida ( @rsurtida) in his tweet.

Domagoso’s name was trending on various “socmed” platforms on Easter Sunday after he urged Robredo to drop his presidential bid.

Robredo supporters first used the #WithdrawIsko hashtag in October 2021, the mayor of Manila said. The hashtag gained popularity online the day Robredo announced that she would also run for president after unification talks with Domagoso, Lacson and other potential opposition candidates broke down.

Hours after Robredo announced her candidacy, Domagoso slammed her at a press conference in Manila, where he called her “a fake leader with a fake color.”

The Manila Peninsula press was still a trending topic on Twitter on Monday, generating mixed to negative reactions mostly from
“rabid” Robredo fanatics who refused to acknowledge the seriousness of his co-candidates’ claims.

Lacson said several times during the presser that her goal was not to destroy Robredo or ask him to step down, but just for her and her side to level the playing field.

“The best way to respect our constituents is to give them as many choices as possible – which is why my running mate, the President of the Senate
Sotto and I have made it a point not to ask other candidates to step aside even as we maintain our position against baseless negative personal attacks,” the senator said.

“That said, there’s a huge difference between not making baseless personal attacks and calling for preemptive maneuvers from some sides to get other bets off,” Lacson added.

Sotto echoed the sentiment in a separate statement.

“It is not automatic that we share the opinions or statements of other candidates on matters outside the joint statement, much less agree to be bound by those opinions,” he said.

He also clarified that although he and Lacson signed a joint statement with Moreno and Gonzales on Sunday, their goal was to “defend the sovereignty of Filipino voters.”

“For greater clarity, our message is that you should not believe the misinformation that either of us pulls – first and foremost – it really is our message. It is the central message of this morning.

“Because we insist this morning: No one will step down. We will go until May 9, come what may. So let’s not buy into propaganda, no matter how crude and below the belt. Don’t think any of us are going to pull out because we’re going to Election Day,” Lacson said.

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