DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday blasted the Romualdos for the supposed underhanded efforts to harass his supporters laying the ground work for a campaign sortie at Mambajao town.
“Baho na nga style (That style stinks),” Duterte said.
Duterte, who spoke to supporters on a make-shift stage at the Mambajao Freedom Park after he was allegedly denied use of the town plaza stage, said the Romualdos were acting like 'they own the island and its people.'
"They gave us a hard time when we applied for a permit. They cut our electrical connection," he said.
Duterte’s campaign organizers reportedly had to make last minute arrangements for a sound system after the local provider canceled their booking on supposed orders of the Romualdos.
The organizers had to rent a sound system from across the island in Cagayan de Oro City, some two and a half hours away.
The mayor of Mambajao is Ma. Luisa Romualdo, wife of Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo. Camiguin Representative Xavier Jesus is the couple’s son and the Romualdos are supporting Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas.
During the rally, Duterte said political rallies are protected by the Constitution and that the Romualdos could get in trouble for trying to stop Wednesday's rally.
"The people need to hear the candidates so that they can make the right choice," Duterte said.
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman and chief of his media team, also detailed other forms of harassment allegedly perpetuated by the Romualdos.
In an an e-mailed statement, Laviña said vehicles with Duterte stickers and posters were forced to the back of the line at the pier in Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, the jump-off point for people, vehicles and goods going to Camiguin.
The electrical connection at the Mambajao Freedom Park was allegedly cut and homes nearby warned not to allow connection to the Duterte team, he said.
“The sound system was also pulled out even though organizers had already paid for it. The owners were reportedly told they would not be allowed to do business in Camiguin if they do not comply,” Laviña said.
He added a government employee also told a Duterte coordinator that they are being threatened with removal of benefits if they join the rally, including cash allowances.
Local coordinators also reported that local officials are threatening people with repercussions if they attend the Duterte-Cayetano rally, he furthered.
“They were told to be delisted from 4Ps, PhilHealth, and scholarship programs,” Laviña said.
The 4Ps, or the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program, is one of the poverty-alleviation projects of the national government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the agency tasked with implementing it, has maintained that it should not be used by politicians in their election campaign.
“Trapo [traditional politics] is reigning in Camiguin and we need to expose this ugly side of the island,” Laviña said, adding that “our volunteers are being harrassed, people are being warned not to be on the streets for the arrival of our candidates and not to attend the rally.” (With reports from JB R. Deveza)