INDEPENDENT vice presidential candidate Senator Francis Escudero has accused the Liberal Party of pressuring “triple time” its allies who are quietly supporting the presidential bid of his running mate, Senator Grace Poe.
Escudero said that there are several administration members who have been supporting him and Poe in secret amid fears of political backlash and harassment from the LP camp.
“Many have talked to us, expressing their support, but they are afraid to do so in public because of what the administration might do against them,” the veteran lawmaker said.
Escudero declined to name the LP members as he accused the administration of increasing the pressure against allies who already want to abandon the tandem of former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
“It would be better if they themselves declare their support publicly. We do not want to get them in trouble, especially now that the administration is working double, even triple time to pressure and harass those who want to support me and Senator Poe,” he said.
“Pressure comes in the form of threatening to file cases, removing their local chief of police or provincial director, or suspending outright their allies,” Escudero added.
The administration has consistently been accused of implementing “selective justice” -- running after the opposition and its former allies while sitting on the cases against its party members.
Despite this, several high-ranking LP members have already defected and decided to support the Poe-Escudero tandem in the run-up to the May 9 elections.
These include Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Cebu Rep. Ace Durano and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.
The Makabayan coalition -- which is composed of the following party-list groups: Sulong Katribu, Migrante, ACT Teachers, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and Piston -- has also endorsed the tandem, saying their openness to progressives is “admirable.”
At least 23 of the 30 party-list organizations represented in the majority bloc in the House of Representatives, including ACT-CIS, Alliance of Volunteer Educators, Butil, 1Care, An Waray, ABS, Abang Lingkod, ANAC-IP, Ako Bicol, Abono, Abante Mindanao, Magdalo, OFW Family and Senior Citizens, have also thrown their support to Poe and Escudero.