“Imagine, I am the official candidate of the (administration Lakas-CMD) party but [De Venecia] is endorsing a different candidate. He is even the president of the party,” Lambino said.
De Venecia denied Lambino’s accusation, saying the province is a free zone “because all of the gubernatorial candidates belong to the administration coalition.”
“I am campaigning for all of them,” De Venecia told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.
Lambino is facing Dr. Jamie Eloise Agbayani, wife of outgoing Gov. Victor Agbayani, who is running as an independent candidate in a three-cornered gubernatorial fight that includes Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr.
Espino has been endorsed by the Nationalist People’s Coalition and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), parties that are both allied with the administration.
Lambino said in De Venecia’s sorties in the province’s fourth district, the Speaker had been asking the people to vote for Agbayani.
De Venecia is running for reelection in the district against Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim of the opposition PDP-Laban.
The fourth district is composed of this city, and the towns of Mangaldan, San Jacinto, San Fabian and Manaoag. Voters in Dagupan, being an independent component city, do not vote for a governor.
Lambino also said De Venecia had supposedly instructed a mayor to distribute Lakas-CMD sample ballots with Agbayani as the candidate.
“No, I did not do that,” De Venecia said.
He said Lambino visited him at his house here and “he asked for my help.”
“I even assured him that I will help him,” De Venecia said.
Lambino also said De Venecia has been applying “all sorts of pressures” on him even before he filed his certificate of candidacy.
“He had asked me to withdraw, giving the alibi that Espino might win if I did not withdraw,” Lambino said.
But Lambino said he was unfazed by De Venecia’s endorsement of Agbayani. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon