BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is prepping up to unleash the fury of a Yolanda type of a smear drive against Mar Roxas following reports that a journalist behind the claim he had throat cancer was a propagandist of the Liberal Party presidential candidate.
In his Facebook account last week, journalist Philip Lustre wrote that Duterte is not running for President because he has throat cancer.
Being a presidential candidate, Lustre said Duterte should publicly bare his state of health.
Information that reached Duterte says that Manila-based Lustre belongs to the public relations group of Roxas.
“How can Roxas allow his PR man to write a lie?” a badly-hurt Duterte said during an interview with Davao City-based journalists on Tuesday.
Roxas should not paint others black to make himself white, he said.
Roxas, recently resigned as Interior Secretary of President Benigno Aquino, will regret it once Duterte unleashes a counter propaganda with the fury of Yolanda, the super typhoon that devastated the Visayas.
Duterte said he would unmask the stink and mismanagement in the rescue and rehabilitation effort for the calamitous disaster under the stewardship of Roxas as Interior secretary.
Duterte, who has emerged as a strong presidential contender. said Roxas should reap the whirlwind for Lustre’s false claim being in Roxas’ propaganda bench.
Reacting to Lustre’s claim, Duterte denied he has cancer, described him as suffering from “mental impotence: and dared the journalist to provide evidence he had the malady.
Lustre, who claimed he was provided medical records of Duterte’s Big C, stood by his claim in a follow-up post.
If Lustre as Roxas’ propagandist would not stop this, then I will tell the world who Roxas really is, Duterte told media in Bisaya.
Roxas will regret this, he said.
Duterte said he has always been honest about his health condition but said he does not suffer from any life-threatening disease.
The mayor has publicly admitted he had Buerger’s disease and Barrett’s diseases reaped from old drinking and smoking vices he had stopped years ago, and back pains from a motorcycle accident.
But Lustre is standing his ground.
“I stand by what I wrote in social media. I have an impeccable source, who knows the real score. The admission that he has throat cancer was not a concoction of my mind. It came from the mayor’s mouth,” Lustre wrote in his Facebook account in a follow-up piece after Duterte denied he has cancer.
The camp of Roxas, a consistent cellar-dweller in poll surveys, has also been accused as behind smear campaigns against presidential contenders Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe.