MANILA (UPDATE) - Presidential aspirant Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso's call for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw was not in the agenda of Sunday's press conference, his partylist said Monday.
Aksyon Demokratiko Partylist chairman Ernest Ramel said Domagoso made the call when the media "unfairly" framed the elections as a "two-way race".
"That's why it went to that conversation na naging anti-Leni Robredo na is because it's the media who put those questions in and of course eventually the sentiments ng candidates came out about her. It was that way because (of) the questions by the media, they keep on pounding on issues by VP Leni Robredo. That's why the gentlemen obliged them," he told ANC's Headstart.
(That's why it went to that conversation, it became an anti-Leni Robredo press conference because it's the media who put those questions in and of course eventually the sentiments ng candidates came out about her.)
"It wasn't part of the agenda...Napunta na sa iba't ibang tanungan so I think the emotions and what was happening in the last 2 weeks came into the fore," he added when asked why the media should be blamed.
The media had "preferred to beat a dead horse," said Ashley Acedillo, spokesperson of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, in a separate interview with Headstart.
"Mas marami sanang issue na dapat matalakay (Many issues could have been tackled)," he said.
The press conference's 3-point agenda were to state that presidential hopefuls Domagoso, Lacson, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao will not withdraw, that they were willing to serve in each others' administration, and that they will push for a "clean, honest, and peaceful" elections, Acedillo said.
There was also a "concerted effort" to play the "gender card" following Domagoso's call, Ramel said.
"They used that gender card. It was a very concerted effort. People in their offices using the gender card. It’s as if the Vice President is helpless," he said.
"Reducing it to the gender card is sexist. Hindi naman ganun ang kaso with the Vice President. Like (Panfilo Lacson's spokesperson) Ashley (Acedillo) said earlier, she's a very capable politician."
Acedillo had said that Robredo supporters who use the "gender card actually takes away from the Vice President."
"When she was congressman, she was my colleague. She's a very capable lady. At the end of the day when you talk about problems of the country, these problems don't look at gender," he said.
"They should not take anything away from the Vice President. She’s a very capable person, whether she’s a lady or not."
Speaking privately with Robredo was "not an option anymore," Ramel said, noting that the Vice President led unity talks and said she would not run for presidency.
"How could you deal with someone na, as Senator Panfilo Lacson said, she decieved once, she deceived twice and she will deceive everytime moving forward. Wala na 'yung trust with dealing wih her and talking about this," he said.
Robredo, in a statement, had said hurtful remarks should no longer be made and her supporters should focus on campaigning following the press briefing.
"Huwag nang magbitaw ng masasakit na salita. Focus lang muna tayo sa kampanya - tao sa tao, puso sa puso. May bayan tayong kailangan ipaglaban," she said.
(Let's not issue hurtful statements anymore. Let's focus on our campaign - people to people, heart to heart. We have a nation we are fighting for.)