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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Jejomar Binay used to have only one spokesman but as the corruption allegations against him began to pile up and the 2016 elections neared, the top Philippine official decided to beef up his offensive/defensive, and expanded his team of mouthpieces.
The Vice President now has 4 official spokesmen, prompting some observers to joke that he nearly has one for every workday. It was reminiscent of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s growing team of spokespersons as the end of her term drew near.
The latest addition to Binay’s pool of spokespersons is former 3-term Cainta mayor Mon Ilagan, who is better known as a broadcast journalist. He worked in the media industry for 25 years, as a reporter of dzMM and ABS-CBN.
Perhaps this was the reason why he was tapped as one of the Vice President’s spokespersons, and overall spokesman of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). He appears to be someone the masses could relate to.
Talking to the media about his new designation, Ilagan said his job is to help the Vice President answer issues and allegations against him, and explain this to the public.
Will he be up to the task? In his radio program aired on Teleradyo on Friday, June 26, Julius Babao said that veteran dzMM anchor Vic de Leon Lima texted Ilagan the day before, perhaps to seek a phone patch interview.
The former mayor’s response to Lima? “Talk to my coordinator. I’m in a meeting,” said Babao, relaying what he heard from his colleague.
“Sana ‘yung coordinator mo na lang ang ginawa mong spokesman (Your coordinator should have been appointed as the spokesman),” Babao quipped.
‘Driver, not coordinator’
A few days later, Ilagan denied his former dzMM colleague’s claim. He explained that he was in an interview with TV5 when dzMM tried to contact him, and that it was his driver – and not his “coordinator,” as he had none – who got the call. He said his driver informed dzMM that he was in a “meeting/interview” and that they should just call Ilagan later.
“Maling storya. I have not talked to Vic Lima or his PA. Wala rin akong coordinator. Driver lang haha. ‘Yun ata nakausap niya,” Ilagan said in a text message to Rappler on Tuesday, June 30.
(Wrong story. I have not talked to Vic Lima or his PA. I also have no coordinator. Just a driver. I think he talked to him.)
He said that as a former broadcast journalist, he knows the importance of getting the other side of the story – in this case, his side.
“You can’t control Vic Lima or Julius Babao but you can get my side,” Ilagan said. – Rappler.com