CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A congressional candidate on Friday, May 6, threatened to file an election protest against his rival, Vice Mayor Reineir Joaquin “Kikang” Uy, for allegedly resorting to what he called a disinformation campaign resorted against him by his political opponent.
Councilor Lordan Suan, a candidate for congressman in Cagayan de Oro’s 1st District, said the smear campaign was resorted to in the final stretch of the election campaign period.
Suan cited billboards erected at Xavier Ecoville Subdivision and the 722 Pahiron Relocation Site on Monday, May 2, that claimed that he voted against the construction of the relocation site.
The relocation site has been home to hundreds of families, many of whom are survivors of the 2011 tropical storm Sendong (Washi) devastation in the city.
“It is not true that I voted against the construction of the housing units. I abstained. I did not vote against it,” Suan said.
In 2017, the city council passed City Ordinance no. 13360-2017, setting aside P23 million to buy a property where 722 low-cost houses were subsequently constructed.
Suan said he abstained from voting because he had apprehensions about the P23-million budget set aside to buy the property.
But the billboards made it look like Suan and his party mate, then-councilor Nadya Elipe, voted against the ordinance and the housing project.
Suan said the billboards were erected on Monday, May 2, by two still unidentified men caught on video. One, he said, was wearing a campaign t-shirt of Vice Mayor Uy and another wore a shirt associated with the vice mayor’s party mate, Councilor George Goking.
He said the disinformation campaign against him has gone against the agreement for clean, honest, and peaceful elections signed by local candidates.
Suan also complained about his campaign materials being torn off and taken down by Uy’s group.
“We signed that agreement for clean elections. So what is this? When I signed that covenant, I kept my word. I didn’t even say anything against my opponent. Who has the motive to malign me? Wouldn’t that be my opponent?” Suan said.
Over the broadcaster iFM station in Cagayan de Oro, Uy denied any hand in the disinformation campaign against Suan, saying he suspected that his opponent was just creating a scenario.
“It is not my style to remove their materials. Maybe that is their handiwork, and then they accuse us,” Uy said.
Uy said that in the 2019 elections, a water pipe in one vote-rich village was cut off by still unidentified men who then left a campaign t-shirt associated with him to make it appear that his group was behind it.
“That is their propaganda. My politics have been of service. The people are witnesses to that,” he said.
Uy, who is serving his first term as vice mayor of the city, is one of the sons of mayoral candidate and Representative Rolando “Klarex” Uy, the favored bet of outgoing Mayor Oscar Moreno.
The Uys of Cagayan de Oro are widely perceived to be the candidates to beat in the May 9 elections.
The congressional post in the 1st District is also being contested by a third candidate, businessman Tito Mora. – Rappler.com