MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Tuesday said that it had nothing to do with several ‘mystery’ paid newspaper advertisements calling for at least 8 million signatures to convince President Aquino to “sacrifice” and seek re-election in 2016.
Initial reports by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that the ads were placed by a certain Grace Pascual; who when contacted by the paper, said that she would send a statement “that will answer all your questions.”
However, the statement did not address the Inquirer’s vital questions; such as who formed the “Movement for Reform, Continuity and Momentum” (MORE2COME) group petitioning for the signatures, how it was formed, and how many members it has. Nor did
Pascual reply to queries as to if Malacañang had any involvement with the group.
Indicated in the brief press release given by Pascual is the group’s “lead convenor,” named as Melvin Matibag. The statement also mentioned “national youth leader Rj Echeverri.”
Meanwhile, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said that Malacañang had no involvement with the ads, which were published on Tuesday in several major dailies, including the Inquirer.
“We had nothing to do with them,” Coloma said in a press briefing.
“President Benigno Aquino is an honest man! P-Noy must now seek a second term in order to make sure that the country stays on course, on the right road, and headed for continued growth and reform. We must maintain the momentum and continuity!” the ads declared
“The call for him to consider leading the country again lies in the face of corrupt politicians who wish to lead the country, and the barrenness of talent and virtue among the presidentiables,” stated the group.
“The most feasible way to effect a second term is through a constituent assembly,” it added.
Coloma stressed that these ads were “spontaneous expressions of people’s sentiments,” and that it was “impossible not to notice them.”
“It means that if these are spontaneous expressions, we have nothing to do with them and there is also no directive from us to stop or control them because they are expressions of the sentiments of the people,” he reiterated.