By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang cannot say for certain if honesty should be considered as a factor in choosing a candidate in the upcoming polls, saying it is up to the public to vote for who they want.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said that honesty should not be an issue because “everybody lies.”
Carpio made the comment following questions about the educational background of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, one of the 13 senatorial candidates being campaigned for by Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).
In his press briefing, Panelo initially refused to answer questions about the Palace’s stand on Carpio’s statement. He said that his opinion may be viewed as campaigning for or against any candidate.
“I’d rather not say anything about election. I’m strictly observing the prohibition under the law. And I will invoke my right against self-incrimination,” he said, adding that he would have to ask Carpio what she meant by her statement.
“She might want to say that everybody gives white lies. Not the lie as in lying. That’s my understanding,” he added.
“She’s entitled to her opinion. It’s a free country,” he continued.
When asked about Duterte’s opinion on the matter, Panelo said that he would ask the President first.
“I will have to ask him that…. Not that I’m not sure, I have to ask him so it’s more accurate,” he said.
He, however, reiterated Duterte’s appeal for “credible and honest” elections.
President Duterte has been appealing to the public to vote for his candidates because they are “fundamentally honest”.
Up to voters
According to the Palace official, it is up to the electorate whether they will consider honesty as a trait a candidate should possess.
“As a voter, I will have to exercise my judgement, whether honesty will be a part of my choice,” he said, adding that it is difficult to say whether a person is honest or not.
“How would you know if I’m honest because you don’t have experience of dealing with me. You need to have personal experience that’s why Mayor Sara can say, let’s not talk about honesty because how would you know?” he added.
According to Panelo some dishonest politicians are being elected because voters do not see honesty as an important factor during the elections. He also said there are times that dishonesty is excusable for public officials.
“Kung nagsisinungaling ka lang tungkol sa girlfriend mo or tungkol sa mga kaaway mo, basta sa trabaho mo matino ka, wala kang gagawing masama in violation of the law and regulations (If example you are lying about a girlfriend or an enemy, but you are a decent worker and you do not violate any law or regulation),” he said.