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MANILA, Philippines - "Deception of the highest order."
This is how Liberal Party (LP) secretary general Mel Sarmiento described incumbent Laguna Gov Jeorge "E.R." Ejercito Estregan's use of President Benigno Aquino III's photograph in his posters, tarpaulins and other campaign paraphernalia.
Estregan is not only a member of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), but a nephew of former president and UNA head Joseph Estrada.
Aquino has visited Laguna on the campaign trail twice, and has endorsed his gubernatorial bet, Edgar "Egay" San Luis. During his last visit in April, he not only pushed for San Luis' bid, he also slammed actor-politician Estregan for supposedly senseless projects.
Just last week, the use of the color yellow became an issue, when Aquino himself saw non-LP bets use yellow in their campaign paraphernalia in General Santos City.
In a statement released on Friday, May 3, Sarmiento said Estregan's paraphernalia make it seem as if Aquino is endorsing him. Estregan's posters reportedly have the image of Aquino on the left and the Virgin Mary on the right, with the Laguna governor flashing the UNA sign.
Sarmiento said he has written the re-electionist, asking him to immediately remove or recall campaign materials with the President's photo. The letter said "it would be likewise well for you to conduct your campaign on the strength of your accomplishments, advocacies and programs and not to resort to the use of computer-generated images."
LP's San Luis also slammed his opponent, saying his move was shameful and deceptive.
"The use of these types of deception is a type of politics that insults the intelligence of the voters and destroys the dignity of public service just to get votes," he said in Filipino.
"What Gov Estregan is doing is not just shameful for his family but also an embarrassment to the province, as it shows how our leader for 3 years values our province," he said.
When President Benigno Aquino III visits provinces for sorties, he often reminds voters that those in yellow are not all on his side.
Laguna is the fifth vote-richest province in the country with 1.5 million registered voters for 2013. In 2010, it backed Aquino's presidential bid, as well as Vice President Jejomar Binay's candidacy. Binay is one of UNA's leaders. - Rappler.com
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