DAVAO City Vice Mayor Sara Duterte expressed confidence in Councilor Ma. Belen Sunga-Acosta, as the latter retaliated on "political gimmicks" that tagged her as a "multi-millionaire councilor."
Acosta delivered a speech attacking a local paper's opinion article (not in Sun.Star Davao) as it assailed her Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SAL) to have reached P16 million and the burning of her campaign materials in Barangay Baliok, Toril.
Acosta, who is running as first congressional district representative, appeared to have been unnerved while delivering her speech and Duterte came to her defense.
"Ma'am ayaw kaguol. Ma'am Acosta, madaog lagi ka (Don't fret. Ma'am Acosta, you will win)," Duterte said after Acosta delivered her speech.
An opinion column published Tuesday said Acosta is "the richest member of the City Council of Davao past and present" for having a net worth of P16 million.
The piece also took a stab at her husbands' profession as an aircraft pilot, saying Acosta's husband "is reportedly the pilot of the aircraft owned by Preacher Apollo Quiboloy, the 'Appointed Son of God' and who may be well paid by the billionaire preacher."
"Political supporters have definitely upped their ante in destroying and undermining my candidacy. One must define the difference between an opinion column and an investigative reporting. An opinion column does not center on one personality alone but on one principle or one condition. An investigative report should be written impartially and must be able to present reports behind what it says," Acosta said.
Acosta denied any truth behind the tag of being a multi-millionaire and instead disclosed that she partially owns under conjugal terms a 500-square meter lot in Fort Bonifacio.
"The land is ours but until now it has no title. Why, because it is occupied by the Philippine Navy. Instead of rows of houses it is all green because it is part of the Philippine Navy Golf Club…" Acosta said.
Acosta continued that her SAL as years progressed has gone down. She also could not let pass to hit a congressman.
"If my net worth has gone up continuously over the years then that should be alarming but contrary to that it has gone down over the years. Unlike a certain congressman whose SAL keeps skyrocketing and was recently reported that his SAL has gone up by 70 percent. The same cannot be said about my SAL," Acosta said.
Acosta also said the barangay officials spearheaded the burning of her campaign materials in the area.
"They are public servants and their accountability to the public supersedes any political alleges they may have. Their premeditated acts to tarnish my campaign will not be tolerated and they will not be exempted from the consequences of their conduct offenses," she said.