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Lawyers debunk Mayor Isko statements on a Marcos presidency, VP Leni, among others

By Jose Oscar Magpusao

The Lawyers Against Disinformation (LAD) of the Lawyers for Leni (L4L) group shot down the recent statements made by Manila Mayor and presidential candidate Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso during his press conference on October 8.

The group specifically targeted his statements regarding the potential return to a Marcos presidency and the issue as a whole, as well as statements made about Vice President Leni Robredo and her supporters, her COVID-19 pandemic response and the ABS-CBN franchise.

It’s not just in the past

LAD in a statement said that the Domagoso was “trivializing the drive to prevent a Marcos return to a presidency” when he made statements on Vice President Leni Robredo's reasoning for her bid to run for the presidency after the late dictator’s son, Bongbong Marcos, placed his bid to run as well, saying: “Yan lang ang dahilan kung bakit siya tatakbo? Yung mga Marcos na naman? Kung may kasalanan ang mga Marcos, kasuhan natin, hindi capricho lang.”

In response, LAD cited an article by Rachel A.G. Reyes with the Manila Times in 2016 who, in turn, cited American historian Alfred McCoy’s books ‘A Question of Torture (2006)’, and ‘Policing America’s Empire (2009)‘, which highlighted the 3,257 people killed during the Marcos regime alongside the estimated 35,000 tortured and some 70,000 arrested.

They also cited the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 in the Philippines, which LAD said was “enacted into law to compensate the thousands of victims of human rights abuses during Martial Law.”

“The Marcos Family has been brought to court and convicted in duly publicized cases,” the group said. “Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban enumerated the decided cases affirming the recovery of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth in his Opinion Column in”

“This is not capricious, it is factual, and to deny the implications of the Marcos rule seriously puts into question Isko’s understanding of Philippine history,” the group added.

When Domagoso asked: “Bakit kailangan huminto ang mundo ngayon sa away Marcos-Aquino?” LAD responded by stating that “the chilling statistics of Martial Law abuse informs VP Leni’s drive to prevent a Marcos return to the presidency, a matter that she has unequivocally marked as non-negotiable.”

On VP Leni

Domagoso also made several accusations against Vice President Leni Robredo, stating that she abandoned the Liberal Party (LP) and that it could likely lead to her abandonment of the Filipino people.

“You yourself, hindi mo nga ma-unify and sarili mo,” Domagoso said during his press conference. “You’re not even proud of your party, oh my god. Kung kaya mong iwan ang mga kasama mo, paano pa ang 110 million Filipinos?”

“VP Leni never resigned from LP,” LAD countered. “Running as independent is her symbolic way of showing that she is open to alliances for the sake of inclusivity. Since when did aspiring for inclusivity become synonymous with abandonment?”

“LP itself affirms that its national executive council already passed a resolution endorsing VP Leni’s candidacy with assurance to mobilize behind her,” the group added.

LAD also listed the political affiliations of Domagoso, excluding affiliations in 1998, 2001 and 2004 when he ran for Councilor in Manila, which includes: Aksyon Demokratiko (2022 presidential bid); Asenso Manileño (2019 mayoralty race); NUP (2016-2021); UNA (2013 vice-mayoralty bid; 2012-2014); and Nacionalista Party (2010 vice-mayoralty bid; 2006-2012).

Additionally, he insinuated that the Vice President had no pandemic response, directly addressing her when he asked: “Ang inaasahan ng mga mamamayan, nasaan ka nung pandemya? Nasa loob ka lang ng condominium pa-blog blog lang?”

LAD refuted this claim, stating that despite the immense budgetary restrictions of the Vice President’s office as allocation from the Duterte administration remains sparse, her COVID-19 response included: P58.84 million worth of ‘testing kits’; P64.7 million worth of PPEs; P43.98 million in dormitory costs for frontliners and workers; P35.6 million in disaster relief operations; P20.43 million allocated to gadgets for students; P14 million for the hot meals of health workers; with 23,345 frontliners benefitting via her vaccine express/swabcab/free shuttle.

Other issues

LAD also noted the passive attitude of Domagoso regarding the Duterte administration’s role in the ABS-CBN franchise renewal controversy, where he said “ABS-CBN. Rule of law. If they acquire a franchise, I’ll sign it into law.”

“This indicates a failure or refusal to recognize that the shutdown of ABS-CBN came with marching orders from no less than President Duterte himself,” the group said. “Shouldn’t a democracy-espousing president make sure that this matter be made a top legislative agenda?

During his press conference, Domagoso also used the term ‘Yellowtards,’ to which LAD interpreted as him “labelling people that hold opinions different from his and his supporters with mental retardation.”

“Mental retardation is a serious medical condition the public healthcare system ought to recognize and care for instead of being casually used in conversation,” the group said. “How does this us-versus-them language promote unity? And coming from a presidentiable at that?”

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