Philippine president wants single front to beat Duterte

 07 May 2016 - 13:47

Philippine president wants single front to beat Duterte
Filipino Liberal Party presidential candidate, Manuel 'Mar' Roxas III (C) signs a campaign poster during a meeting with farmers and students at a university in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines, 06 May 2016.  EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

By Roy Ramos

ZAMBOANGA CITY, The Philippines: Philippines election campaigns ended Saturday with outgoing President Benigno Aquino II and his anointed candidate Mar Roxas calling on rival Grace Poe to join forces to stop frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte from winning Monday's presidential election.

Both Aquino and Roxas went on television Friday night urging Poe to withdraw in favor of Roxas to stop what they claimed could be another possible dictatorship under a Duterte presidency.
The president and his candidate were referring to Duterte's repeated remarks in campaign speeches that he would execute tens of thousands of criminals and abolish Congress.
Aquino warned that Duterte had the makings of a dictator and that it was crucial for his opponents to unite and defeat the mayor's 11 percent lead in election surveys.
Roxas scored 20 points and Poe got 22 in the last Social Weather Stations survey.
“The whole point is to get even two of them to unite... then we have more than 40 percent,” Aquino said in the television interview.
In a separate interview, Roxas claimed the May 9 election is a choice between iron-handed rule or democracy.
“The differences of the Roxas-[Leni] Robredo tandem with that of the Duterte-[Ferdinand] Marcos is very clear and very obvious,” Roxas told reporters in Legazpi City.
"I call for unity. I call for decency. I call for democracy. I call for the rule of law. I call on Senator Grace Poe. Grace, let's talk, I will adjust schedules to your convenience. Just tell me where and when and I will go... This is for unity. This is for our country. This is for our future,” Roxas said.
“The Roxas-Robredo is for democracy and for clean and transparent governance while the Duterte-Marcos is for the return of martial law, a return of violence,” the Philippines Daily Inquirer reported him as saying.
Like Duterte, Marcos is leading in the vice presidential race based on the same survey.
Roxas said the country went bankrupt during the two decades that Marcos’ father -- the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos -- occupied the presidential palace.
Marcos senior ruled from 1965 until his ouster via the popular Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986.
Poe has rejected Roxas' invitation to talk and negotiate a possible united front against the tough talking candidate from southern Mindanao.
The daughter of a late popular movie star emphasized Friday that she will not withdraw from the race.
"We may talk anytime, but let me say in advance if he [Roxas] is suggesting I will withdraw, I will not do it... that would be a swift and treacherous move, " Poe was quoted by the state-run Philippines News Agency as saying.
She suggested that if Roxas will withdraw “it’s up to them to decide.”