SUPPORTERS of administration candidate Manuel Roxas II and Senator Grace Poe—statistically tied at second place—on Thursday urged the other side to withdraw from the race so that one of them could defeat the frontrunner, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Liberal Party campaign spokesman Rep. Barry Gutierrez urged Poe supporters to switch to Roxas to thwart Duterte’s rise to the presidency.
While the two camps were trying to convince each other to drop out of the race, the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay asked all camps not to celebrate yet as “history will repeat itself.”
The Binay camp cited the 2010 vice presidential race in which Binay beat Roxas, contrary to the opinion surveys.
Duterte did not seem bothered by his opponents, and fended off questions instead of how he acquired several houses and many sports utility vehicles without paying for them when he was mayor.
Duterte admitted all those assets were “gifts” from religious leader, Apollo Quiboloy.
Gutierrez said the race has become a two-cornered fight between Roxas and Duterte.
“To Senator Poe’s supporters, it’s time to shift to Mar,” the LP spokesman said.
“We have overtaken Vice President Binay. We have overtaken Senator Grace, and we are slowly moving up against Mayor Duterte. We are hoping the day will come when we surpass Mayor Duterte,” Roxas said. “On May 9, we will win.”
The supporters of both Roxas and Poe separately sent out petitions asking their respective presidential candidates to make the “ultimate sacrifice” and withdraw from the race to defeat Duterte.
Both camps used the same vehicle, change.org.ph.
Some 2,138 Roxas supporters, led by Nenette Coronel, a single mother, asked Poe to withdraw to achieve the “continuity” espoused by Roxas.
“For the love of our country and for the love of our children, may I ask you to please consider setting aside your personal interests for now and close ranks with the group of Sec. Mar Roxas in order to provide a credible reversal to the momentum of a Duterte presidency?” the petition addressed to Poe read.
“I ask for your sacrifice not because I am a RoRo (Roxas-Robredo) follower. To be honest about it, I ask this on the basis of the trend of the surveys and the individual momentum of the candidates. Had Sec. Mar Roxas still languished at the bottom, I would have definitely written this letter to him instead. We need credible electoral results in order to fight the ominous winds of change. We need to call on our love of country AND love of our children to find a peaceful solution to this dangerous precipice we are edging nearer to. May I therefore ask for this supreme sacrifice from you for the sake of our country and of our children’s future?
May I humbly request you to please seriously consider this petition. Thank you very much.”
The petition also cited Poe’s youth and said she could make a strong run for the presidency after 2016.
Shortly after the “withdraw Grace” petition circulated on social media, another petition signed by Troy de Leon and 69 other petitioners asked Roxas to also withdraw in favor of Poe.
The petition said it was best for Roxas to withdraw from the race, instead of Poe, because Poe’s votes were non-transferrable to Roxas.
“Mr. Roxas, you’ve done it before please do it again. Real surveys show the public’s wide support for the senator. She is the only one who can present a credible alternative to Mayor Duterte and have a chance to win the presidency,” De Leon’s petition read.
“She has the support of the people without the benefit of a government machinery or a gigantic political party in power behind her. She is the second choice of the majority of Filipino voters, she presents a departure from the excesses and abuses of the current administration and more importantly, her votes are not transferable to you. Do your country a favor sir and be a hero for it,” the petition read.
But Roxas said recent surveys showed he had gained the momentum and that it was his turn to rise to the top.
“This is the good fight. This is the fight of our lives. We will never give you any reason to regret your support for me and [vice presidential candidate] Len [Robredo],” Roxas added.
The Binay camp said it was confident the vice president would win on May 9.
“History will indeed repeat itself,” Binay spokesperson Rico Quicho said.
He pointed out Binay won the 2010 national elections after trailing in preelection surveys.
Quicho also warned other candidates not to be overconfident.
“To the other candidates: Do not celebrate yet, good things are about to happen, Binay is coming,” Quicho said.
“Vice President Jejomar Binay is determined to recapture the spirit of collective activism, and will continue to fight on behalf of the Filipino people for social justice and respect for human rights,” said UNA president Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco.
“There will be no letup in our efforts to communicating our message of hope and positive change,” he said.
Reacting to the recent comments of Poe in Manila claiming that the fight “is between her and Mayor Duterte,” Roxas said Poe cannot claim this because he’s already leading in the polls.
“Maybe that’s what she wants but I already edged her out,” Roxas said. “If you look at the surveys, all of them are going down.”
“Now that they are going down, they’re all crying foul. Both on the surveys, in the social media, and on the ground, we’re getting stronger,” Roxas said.
Four days before the elections, Poe urged voters to reject “an inept, insensitive and slow government” or a corrupt one, or one that did not respect human rights.
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