Election’s over; we’ve won—Duterte camp
“The election is over!” a confident Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of PDP-Laban, the political party behind presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte, told the mammoth crowd at the Rizal Park on Saturday afternoon.
Supporters of the trash-talking mayor who vowed to rid the country of criminality in three to six months echoed Pimentel’s fearless forecast, with miting de avance organizers egging them on by repeatedly declaring, “Panalo na tayo! (We have won!)”
Despite the show of force, with the crowd numbering 550,000 at 6:30 p.m. according to estimates by the National Capital Regional Police Office, Pimentel called on Duterte supporters to be vigilant on election day and to guard their votes to ensure their candidate’s victory.
“Bantayan natin ang eleksyon (let us guard the election)!,” he urged the crowd.
Pimentel earlier appealed for calm, sobriety and utmost vigilance in the face of alleged reports that so-called agent-provocateurs would sow pandemonium in the Duterte rally.
“I am appealing to freedom-loving Filipinos who want to effect real change in our country by voting for Mayor Duterte: Do not be provoked because reports reaching us from the ground say that some forces are desperate and will do anything to make President Duterte look bad,” the senator said.
Pimentel said one report being circulated was that a woman would allegedly shout “(Mar) Roxas!” during the rally and that, on cue, some men posing as Duterte followers would act like they were beating her up to put the mayor’s supporters in a bad light.
The senator also said he was concerned about the reappointment of several police officials, including in vote-rich Cebu, purportedly to cheat in favor of administration candidate Roxas.
“I am appealing to those who are behind these devious plans to cease and desist because the voting public will not allow their will to be subverted.” Pimentel said.
He described as well what he called various techniques to rob Duterte of his rightful votes, among them automatically crediting to Roxas votes cast for Duterte.
Even votes for senatorial candidate Mark Lapid had been credited to Roxas in tests of vote-counting machines held in Samal Island, Pimentel claimed, quoting an unnamed report.
In another test in the municipality of Tamparan in Lanao del Sur, all votes were counted for Roxas, Pimentel claimed, including those cast for Duterte.
According to Pimentel, a retired police general was used by Malacañang some months back to forcibly remove then Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia from office, and that the police general had recently been exposed along with a staff of Roxas, the senator added. He did not name names, however.
Several political leaders also expressed support for Duterte during the Luneta grand rally, among them Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, a known ally of rival presidential contender Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Senatorial candidate Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who was seen attending a Binay event in Lucena City last week, also spoke before the crowd and threw his support behind the mayor.
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