NP urges ABS-CBN to reveal source of psychiatric report on Noynoy
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Nacionalista Party (NP) senatorial candidates yesterday challenged ABS-CBN Channel 2 to reveal their sources from the party who leaked the alleged psychiatric report on the mental health of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
NP spokesman and senatorial bet Gilbert Remulla said the party had waived the “confidentiality clause” on the protection of news sources to uncover who is behind the supposed plot to discredit Aquino.
“The name of the NP is being dragged, they made a big generalization when they claimed that the NP released that report. We are giving them authority to please reveal the source,” Remulla added.
The word war between NP and LP raged in the past week after a three-page report, purportedly on the depression of Aquino, circulated in the Internet.
At the height of the controversy, ABS-CBN executives said two sources from the NP leaked the report.
The network also revealed that a source from LP gave information surrounding the death of NP standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar’s brother, Danny, who died of complications of leukemia in 1962. Critics questioned Villar’s background based on his brother’s death certificate – which showed the young boy was brought to the Far Eastern University, a private hospital.
Remulla, along with NP senatorial bets Adel Tamano, Toots Ople and Martin Loon who represented his father detained Col. Ariel Querubin, also an NP senatorial bet, held a joint press conference yesterday to reiterate that the report did not came from the NP.
“We are reiterating that ABS-CBN disclose their sources because not only the integrity of the Nacionalista Party is affected here, but also the credibility of ABS-CBN because we are now at loggerheads. And we will continue to say that the NP did not authorize the release of such documents,” Remulla said.
Remulla said the NP’s top officials including its president Villar, secretary-general Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Rimpy Bondoc, Tamano and Ricky Luanzon and himself have no knowledge on the release of the purported psychiatric report.
Ople said she has high regard for Fr. Carmelo Caluag, SJ, the purported Ateneo official who signed the document, and she cannot allow such act of disrespect to the Jesuit priest.
She said she would consider leaving NP and run as an independent candidate if it is proven that the report came from the party.
Both Aquino and Father Caluag, whose signature appeared on the document, have claimed that the report was fabricated.
Aquino decried the supposed medical report from the Ateneo de Manila University’s psychology department, as he insisted that the document was fake.
He said the issue was an invention and smacks of his rival’s desperation to destroy his person.
The medical report was a supposed assessment of how Aquino was suffering from major depressive disorder due to work-related issues and after a breakup with his flight attendant girlfriend. It also mentioned some vices that Aquino had since he was young.
Remulla said that the report might have come from within the ranks of the Liberal Party, which has also been rocked by conflict because of the faction between the groups of LP vice-presidential bet Sen. Manuel Roxas and Sen. Francis Escudero, who are helping Aquino in his campaign.
Querubin’s son demanded an apology from the people who were behind the smear campaign.
“We will demand that that person or individual issue an apology to Fr. Caluag, to the ADMU, Sen. Aquino and to the NP,” Loon said.
Willie Revillame hits ABS-CBN
Television host Willie Revillame of ABS-CBN noontime show “Wowowee” also appealed to the network’s management to present the real attendance of people who showed up during the NP-sponsored Rockatropa-Wowowillie shows in various provinces.
Revillame was unable to hide his disappointment, especially with the ABS-CBN news and public affairs that showed only part of the thousands of people who attended the NP rally in Cabanatuan City, Lucena City and Camarines Sur.
He claimed that over 200,000 people attended the rallies in Cabanatuan and Camarines Sur.
Villar’s running mate, Sen. Loren Legarda, a broadcaster before she become a politician, said she sensed the obvious downplay in the news coverage on ABS-CBN, apparently due to their support for Aquino.
Meanwhile, LP senatorial bet detained Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim called on Villar to apologize for the spread of the fake psychiatric report on Aquino.
“A true national leader is capable of acknowledging when he is at fault, whether he or his people caused the transgression. As such, I ask, can Villar do that? Can he swallow his pride and admit wrongdoing?” Lim, an adopted candidate of the Liberal Party, said in a statement.
Loren dares other bets
Legarda challenged other vice presidential bets and the presidential candidates to undergo physical, psychological and emotional tests.
Legarda told The STAR during their party’s rally in Marbel, Koronadal City, South Cotabato on Sunday night that the tests would help determine if the candidates who are seeking the two highest positions in the country are emotionally, physically and psychologically capable to lead the nation.
Legarda, a guest candidate of the Nacionalista Party, said candidates for president and vice president should also be checked if they have any criminal records or any pending cases.
Villar supported the proposal for candidates to undergo physical and mental examinations.
Villar told the press conference at the Koronadal Sports Complex that Legarda’s challenge to their opponents was a positive move.
He said that NP bets are ready to undergo the medical tests to prove to the voters that they are qualified, ready and capable to lead the nation physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Palace supports good mental health of bets
Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said the mental health of presidential candidates is a legitimate election issue that Filipinos should take into account.
Olivar said a presidential candidate’s mental health must be raised in a fair and objective manner without violating one’s right to privacy.
Meanwhile, Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial bet Raul Lambino lashed out yesterday at some candidates for hitting the media over the report on the alleged psychiatric problem of Aquino.
He said that journalists should not be dictated upon by personalities or groups on election-related issues, especially what and how these should be reported, saying it is part of the freedom of the press that the Constitution protects.
NP candidates called on their counterparts in the LP not to put the issue under the rug.
NP senatorial bets Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo said a presidential candidate and any candidate for that matter should be physically and mentally fit.
Lawyer seeks Villar’s disqualification
Lawyer Ernesto Francisco filed a petition yesterday before the Commission on Elections seeking to disqualify Villar from the presidential race for allegedly accepting illegal campaign contributions.
Francisco said the Comelec should investigate the sources of campaign funds of Villar who had an “unprecedented amount” of money.
Francisco had previously filed a complaint before the Senate Ethics Committee against Villar for his alleged involvement in the irregularity over the right-of-way acquisition of the controversial C-5 Road extension project that reportedly benefited the real estate companies owned by Villar’s family.
In the new petition to the Comelec, Francisco said Villar declared in his sworn statement of assets and liabilities over P29 million cash in bank, but has reportedly spent billions in radio and television political advertisements since November 2009.
“Even if he had liquidated and sold all of his other declared assets to finance his candidacy, which obviously he has not done, the proceeds would still be insufficient and inadequate to fund his campaign expenses,” Francisco pointed out.
Francisco said the law prohibits real estate firms like the Villar-owned Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. from giving directly or indirectly contributions for purposes of partisan political activity.
“In view of the foregoing prohibition on real estate companies and considering that Villar spent billions in his campaign, it’s the duty of the Comelec to conduct an investigation and determine whether election law have violated,” he said. – With Alexis Romero, Rose Tamayo-Tesoro, Paolo Romero, Mayen Jaymalin