MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III’s advice to the public in selecting the country’s next leaders did not mean to discriminate a group of people, a Malacanang official said on Saturday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte raised the issue following criticisms hurled at the President when he urged the public not to vote for a candidate who is merely “good at reading scripts, dancing or singing” during a speech he delivered during the Independence Day rites held in Naga City.
The President said that voters had the responsibility to ensure that the Philippines was more just and progressive than it was in the past.
“The message of the President (was) not directed to a group of people or was not meant to discriminate against a group of people,” Valte said in an interview over state-run dzRB radio.
“The point of the President merely was to say that when voters consider electing an official, it should not end there. They should also look at the qualifications of the candidate,” she added.
Valte stressed that voting a candidate should not be based on popularity.
“This is public office. Public office is a public trust. Someone putting himself up for election should have the qualifications and not be good at singing or dancing,” she said.
“I think it is clear in his speech what he meant. There are just some groups who want to muddle the issue,” she added.