Two presidential candidates — Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso  decried the smear campaign launched against them at the start of the election season. 

Lacson revealed a black propaganda campaign is targeting him. 

The plot  was revealed to Lacson by columnist and TV talk show host Cito Beltran Thursday morning during an interview on Beltran’s talk show Agenda.

“I was approached by a PR operator to conduct black propaganda against you,” Beltran told Lacson.

But Beltran said he refused the offer and demanded to see the evidence first.

“Thank you for confirming it,” replied Lacson, who has been at the receiving end of black propaganda since his first term as senator in 2001.

Earlier, Partido Reporma spokesperson Ashley Acedillo bared dirty tricks against Lacson’s 2022 presidential bid, including fake news circulating on social media that he had withdrawn or is withdrawing from the race, and a rigged mobile presidentiable ‘text’ survey that excluded Lacson’s name from the list of choices.

Lacson recalled that since 2001, he had been at the receiving end of black propaganda from the Arroyo administration. He said he was forced to file libel charges against the parties involved to protect his dignity.

In 2017, former Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines head Victor Corpus apologized to Lacson for linking him to illegal activities. The Philippine Daily Inquirer also issued an apology for publishing opinion items containing the fake news in 2019. The Supreme Court had also junked with finality the cases against Lacson.

However, Lacson said it is now time to decriminalize libel since information technology has become borderless.

Meanwhile, Domagoso stated, “To the trolls who said I am (with the communist New People’sArmy or) NPA, I am not (with the) NPA.”

Domagoso said it has come to his attention that photos of him with many others, including CPP’s founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison, have been circulating on social media to make it appear he is sympathetic to the NPA.

Instead, Domagoso said he was lucky that President  Duterte appointed him to participate in the peace talks. “Dahil ho siya, inaalagaan niya yung mga NPA nung araw sa Davao. May relasyon si Presidente sa NPA,” he stressed.

He cited instances such as at agreement signing, where he was included in photos for posterity along with other observers and consultants.