MANILA — Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso's challenge for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race backfired because it had no basis, communication researcher Fatima Gaw said Tuesday.
Presidential hopefuls Domagoso, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales hit Robredo, the lone female among the 2022 presidential candidates, during their Easter Sunday press conference at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City, while jointly asserting that they are pushing through with their respective campaigns.
"Nagkaroon ng backlash I think it's because 'yung call niya, 'yung negative campaigning niya ay walang basehan. Kumbaga hindi naman nangungulelat si VP Leni," said Gaw, an assistant professor at the UP Communication Research department.
(There was a backlash, because his call, the negative campaigning, had no basis, like VP Leni was not last in surveys.)
Robredo consistently placed second, albeit by a wide margin, in opinion polls for the top post, trailing survey frontrunner former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
Gaw said that a lot of negative campaigning are launched gradually, some through seeding disinformation, "until you can launch this big negative campaign ad, for instance. So may pinanggagalingan (So it has a source)."
Robredo suffered most from disinformation online, while her archrival, Marcos Jr., benefited from it, fact-checking group Tsek.ph earlier said.
Not all negative campaigning are created equal, Gaw says, as some have a basis. "We need to make a distinction between fair criticism and just blatant... libelous speech."
Gaw also pointed out that negative campaigning is not new, and it's one of the candidates' tools during elections.
"It's been a strategy that's been used since 2016 — or ever since actually — more so after the Duterte administration was in power. In fact in my research... we've seen this negative campaigning happen across the years."