Former senator and Duterte critic Bam Aquino yesterday denied that he hired an alleged scammer to discredit administration candidates during the May midterm elections.
The alleged scammer named Dennis Borbon was presented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the media in Camp Crame in Quezon City yesterday. With the help of his accomplice Edgar Bularan, Borbon allegedly extorted money from Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla. He allegedly pretended to be Camarines Sur Congressman Arnie Fuentebella and called Revilla to ask for as much as PHP15,000 (US$291.92). After Revilla reported the call, the PNP tracked down and arrested Bularan and Borbon during an entrapment operation on Wednesday in Malabon.
During the press conference, pro-Duterte Senator Christopher “Bong” Go also alleged that one of Aquino’s staff hired Borbon to launch a smear campaign against him and other administration candidates during the midterm elections, a claim which the alleged scammer and self-described “anti-administration blogger” admitted to.
“That’s true. I don’t deny that. Since I have a blog and sometimes it would reach 300,000 per week engagement on Facebook the chief of staff of Senator Bam Aquino — who is former Daraga councilor Ares Goyena — approached me. And then that’s it, I was told to discredit all the senatorial candidates of the administration,” Borbon said in Filipino during the press conference yesterday.
Borbon said he was allegedly paid PHP20,000 (US$389) to PHP40,000 (US$778.18) for the alleged smear campaign and that he also worked with Magdalo party-list Gary Alejano, one of Aquino’s party mates who also ran for senator in May. Borbon also said he knew Peter Advincula, the self-confessed star of the viral Ang Totoong Narco List (The Real Narco List) videos who said he was hired by opposition lawmakers who had the intention of removing President Rodrigo Duterte from power.
However, Aquino denied working with Borbon in text messages sent to Rappler yesterday.
“This Borbon is an attention-seeker and it’s clear that he’s changing the story to bury the crimes he has done. I have nothing to do with him,” Aquino said. “Let’s not believe people like Borbon who is a scammer.”
Likewise, Alejano also denied hiring Balbon to smear his opponents during the midterm elections.
“I will never resort to [a] smear campaign whatsoever and my team knows that as a general rule,” Alejano said in a statement that appeared on his Facebook account. “May our government officials be more responsible in releasing information to [the] public especially if their source is from a scammer.”
For allegedly committing extortion, Bularan and Borbon will be charged with identity theft and fraud. Fuentabella will file the complaints against the two suspects.
Go said he wants justice for the alleged smear campaign launched against him during the elections.
“I want justice. I was made to strip down during the midterm elections twice to prove that everything all those black propaganda against me was wrong,” Go said.
In April, Go took off his shirt in front of several reporters to prove that he didn’t have a dragon tattoo, which allegedly marked him as part of a drug syndicate, after allegations from Advincula’s viral videos. Go stripped in front of reporters for a second time in May.