MANILA - The camp of Otso Diretso candidate Mar Roxas on Thursday thanked Sen. Panfilo Lacson for clearing the former lawmaker of allegations that he pocketed disaster funds in 2013, and urged voters to be wary of fake news amid the senatorial campaign season.
Lacson, who was tasked by former President Benigno Aquino III to oversee rehabilitation efforts in disaster-hit areas in 2014, categorically said in a press briefing that Roxas, who was Interior secretary when super typhoon Yolanda struck, "did not steal Yolanda funds."
"Kasabay ng pasasalamat namin kay Senator Ping, nananawagan kami sa ating mga kababayan: Doon lang po tayo sa totoo," Roxas' campaign manager, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, said in a statement.
(While we thank Sen. Lacson, we also call on the public: Let us stick to the truth.)
Commission on Audit reports on disaster and rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-hit areas have also cleared Roxas of corruption, but several erroneous articles and videos were uploaded on social media during the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections where Roxas ran as the Liberal Party's standard-bearer. He lost to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
"Panahon ngayon ng kampanya, at uso ang pagpapakalat ng mga fake news at intriga katulad ng nangyari noong 2016," Erice said.
(It is campaign season and the propagation of fake news and intrigue is rampant, just like what happened in 2016.)
"Tiwala kami na ang pagbabatayan nila ay ang katotohanan, at hindi ang sabi-sabi ng kung sinu-sino sa internet," he said.
(We trust that voters would base their choices on the truth and not just on hearsay from the internet.)
Several fake photos that targeted Roxas have also been uploaded on social media after the Liberal Party bet filed his certificate of candidacy for senator in October 2018.
Roxas earlier said that he expected to be the target of trolls throughout the campaign season.
"Basta tuloy-tuloy lang tayo," Roxas told reporters in a chance interview in Naga City on February 13, 2019.
(We just have to keep on going.)
"Love you trolls," he said, in jest.