Aquino rejects Ampatuan ‘endorsement,’ describes it as a joke

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: No, thank you.

On this note, Sen. Noynoy Aquino on Tuesday dismissed as a joke reports of the endorsement of his presidential bid by members of the Ampatuan clan.

“Siguro joke po yun. Di ko nakakausap yan, di namin hinahabol ang kanilang endorsement (It must be a joke. I never talked to him. We never asked his endorsement),” Aquino said in an interview with reporters here.

“No, thank you,” he added when asked for his response to the reported endorsement from the Ampatuans, including Maguindanao massacre principal suspect Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

Aquino also pointed out that Datu Unsay had openly endorsed the candidacies of NP bet Manny Villar and his spokesperson Gilbert Remulla last Thursday while he was being transferred from the NBI detention cell to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

“Basta alam ko, noong isang araw di dilaw ang kulay ng baller na suot-suot sa TV,” he pointed out.

The LP bet also corrected reports circulated by the Villar camp that it was the late President Cory Aquino who appointed the elder Andal to his post in 1986.

“Vice Mayor lang si Andal Sr. noong dumating ang EDSA. Isa siya sa na-replace na OIC. Yung OIC dating pulis, Ampatuan din ang surname, ang nagrekomenda si Zacarias Candao. Si Candao ay governor ng Maguindanao noon na tinalo ng kakampi namin,” Aquino said.

He also said that he and other opposition senatorial candidates had fallen victim to cheating by the Ampatuans in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the 2007 elections.

He recalled that in the Ampatuans’ bailiwick in Maguindanao, the opposition senatorial slate was trounced 12-0 by the administration’s Team Unity.

Meanwhile, Aquino said he and his supporters are preparing against cheating in ARMM and in other areas where poll fraud is likely to occur.

“We are preparing nationwide to safeguard our votes, not just in one area but in many areas. We have 225,000 watchers ready and their ranks may even grow,” he said.#