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Rody’s men no clue on his planned leaks

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Duterte

Malacañang was tight-lipped when asked who among the 2022 presidential aspirants will be at the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s revelations soon.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday refused to identify the supposed corrupt, incompetent, and drunkard candidates that the President was referring to in his recent public address, saying he had no clue about the matter.

“The President hasn’t told us personally or named them,” the Palace official said in an interview with CNN Philippines. “Let’s just wait for his next ‘Talk to the People’ where he may share details or information that he has.”

Daily Tribune also sought the comment of other Cabinet officials who may have an inkling on the issue, but they have yet to respond at press time.

On the other hand, the leading Palace contenders — except for Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso — were also mum on what the President has promised to reveal.

Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and former lawmaker Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have yet to issue statements on Duterte’s threat.

Domagoso, for his part, said in a press conference on Tuesday that he would respect what the President would say about the presidential aspirants.

“The President has the right to disclose those who are unscrupulous,” he told reporters. “President Duterte is still a voter and he is entitled to his observation and opinion.”

“I do believe that anybody can explain (himself) whoever (he is) at the end of the day,” Domagoso added.

Labor leader Leody de Guzman, who is also eyeing the presidency, meanwhile, dared Duterte to present evidence to back up his claims.

De Guzman also bluntly described the President’s upcoming revelation as an attempt to be “relevant” for the 9 May elections.

For political observers, Duterte’s promise of unveiling the supposed frailties of presidential aspirants could still influence voters, particularly those who support him.

The President remains to be a popular leader, earning a record-high 72-percent approval rating in December based on a Pulse Asia survey. The figure was higher than those of his predecessors at a time when he was about to leave the Palace.

But some have been frowning on the President’s expected attacks against the Palace hopefuls.

“It also does not look good that President Duterte’s attacks against some presidential aspirants are not based on policy differences, but bordering on the very personal and meant to sow intrigues,” said Ela Atienza, a longtime political science professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

“President Duterte can still influence some of his supporters, but note that even popular presidents like PNoy failed to influence the results of the elections,” she told Tribune in an online exchange.

As for aspirants, Atienza said they should strengthen their campaign efforts regardless of whether they were criticized by the President.

“They may answer some of the claims of the President if these are relevant, but they should continue focusing on their platforms and engage with various sectors and voters,” she said.

The issue stemmed from Duterte’s pronouncement this week that he will divulge in due time the faults of presidential contenders, vowing that he will name an aspirant who is “too corrupt” and another bet who is unfit for the job.

Duterte denied he was politicking, but he justified his upcoming revelations by saying that he should advise the public on choosing the next Philippine leader.

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