MANILA -- Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Senator Manny Villar denies allegation of former senator Franklin Drilon on land conversion in the province of Iloilo.

Drilon said during a sortie in Iloilo that Villar facilitated the illegal conversion of a prime rice land to give way to the development of his real estate company.

He also alleged that Villar built a road along the town of Jibao-an in Pavia, which will pass through the presidential aspirant’s Savannah subdivision in the Barangay Polo Maestra in the town of Oton.

Drilon is running for senator under the Liberal Party (LP) of Senator Noynoy Aquino.

On his campaign sortie in Cavite, Villar said his land project in Iloilo is above board and open to public scrutiny.

“Walang nilalabag na batas (ang mga kompanya ko). Walang inagrabyado, at lalong walang niloko sa publiko. Marangal na ginagawa yan,” the NP's bet said.

He added: “Mga public companies yan na binabantayan ng Securities and Exchange Commission at lahat ng agencies ng government. Puwede iyang tingnan ng kahit na sino."

Villar said he doesn't know why negative issues were still thrown at him and added that all his transaction went through a process and followed the law. “Nagtataka ako sa kanilang sinasabi. Ito ay kasama ng mga paninira sa akin."

NP's vice-presidential candidate Senator Loren Legarda shows support to her running mate and said that these issues are caused by a threatened party.

“Ang hamon ko sa mga nininerbyos at napipikon na Presidente at Bise Presidente ng Partido Liberal, dalhin nila sa korte kung meron silang ebidensya,” she said.

Legarda added that everyone should focus on their work and not spreading text and press releases like this.

“Wag silang magsayang ng pera sa paninirang puri sa mga text,” Legarda said.

Legarda is also challenging LP standard bearer Aquino and his running mate Mar Roxas to show what they've done to Hacienda Luisita and properties owned by the Araneta-Roxas, which should have been given to their farmers.

She said if they are the real "poor" they should show everyone that they can do it, give their vast land not on the next five years but now.

“Yang mga sinasabi nilang anomalya ay isang desperadong galaw ng mga nerbyoso at pikon.”

When asked to comment on the issue, NP's senatorial bet Adel Tamano was surprised with the latest issues thrown to Villar.

“I'm so surprised how the LP can stoop this low. At the start of campaign, lamang sila. They kept on saying na 'wag tayo magtapunan ng putik, i-raise natin yung level ng debate at platform lang ang pag-uusapan natin. Ngayon na nag-equal na ang kandidato namin sa kanila, e biglang nagtapon sila ng kung anu-anong alegasyon,” Tamano said.

Guest candidate Miriam Santiago, for his part, said that if she will be given another opportunity to be elected by the people, she will push to pass a law that will prohibit election candidates to commit mudslinging.

“Those dirty tricks department should really be abolished by operation of law,” Santiago said. “The candidates instead should debate on their projects and politics and not with futile issues." (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)