MANILA, Philippines - For releasing to the media unverified documents on the mental health of presidential race frontrunner Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, former energy official President Guido Delgado is at the center of allegations that the Nacionalista Party (NP) is engaged in the latest black propaganda.
Delgado, the former president of National Power Corp. (NPC), is a supporter of NP standard-bearer Manny Villar. On Monday, he called a press conference where he said his co-campaign volunteer received over the weekend documents on the mental health of Aquino, the Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet.
Delgado denied on ANC's "The Rundown" on Wednesday that the move was part of a smear campaign, adding he did not seek clearance from anyone but rather acted on his own to bring to light a matter of public concern.
Days after the document's veracity was denied by its supposed author, Ateneo priest Fr. Jaime Bulatao, Delgado shrugged off the possibility his decision to release the document would backfire on the Villar camp.
"More than a Villar supporter, I am a Filipino citizen, and I am concerned about the leadership of this country," Delgado said. "And so if it hurts the candidacy of Manny Villar, then so be it. But I am concerned about the implication it will have on the entire country. I don't believe that a mere denial of those who supposedly signed the report is enough, given the seriousness of what's reported in those medical reports."
Delgado said he is not satisfied with the denial from Ateneo's Psychology Department on what it calls a "fake psychiatric report".
With the report inconclusive until it is verified by the proper authorities, Delgado said candidates for the May 2010 elections must now come clean on their physical and mental records.
"I must admit, it is unfair to Senator Noynoy to say it's authentic when it's still unverified," Delgado said. "So the only way I see it is if Senator Noynoy and all candidates open their medical records to the public, considering that being president of the Philippines is a serious matter, and they must be open to the public on their mental and health condition to settle the issue."
But Aquino' campaign spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said Delgado is just out to attack the LP standard-bearer's reputation and raise doubts on his capacity to serve as president.
"This is a man who has dishonored himself before the Filipino public, who has dishonored his wife, his own family, by coming out with baseless, malicious accusations against Mr. Aquino," Lacierda said
Tamano: Disservice to the party
Villar said sanctions would not be forthcoming for Delgado, whose press conference had taken them by surprise.
But no less than NP spokesman and senatorial candidate Adel Tamano has distanced himself from the Delgado and his actions.
"I'm condemning the action he has taken. I feel Mr. Delgado did a disservice to the Nacionalista Party by presenting this document that was not verified, not authenticated," Tamano said
He added he would not rule out the possibility Delgado may have set himself up for legal actions. "Legally, perhaps cases can be filed against him, criminal case for falsification. But we're in the midst of the campaign, we don't have time."
But, Tamano added, the NP would be better off focusing on the strengths of its campaign and the qualification and competence of its candidates.
"We have to level-up the campaign, no more smear campaign. But coming up with this fake document, fake psychiatric report is pure and simple black propaganda, specially coming from a volunteer of the Nacionalista Party," he said.
Asked about the implications his actions would have on his reputation, Delgado insisted he only had the country's best interest in mind.
"It's up to people to love me or hate me. I have no hidden agenda. If that report is authentic and is verified to be authentic, then it's a very serious concern for all Filipinos," he said.