MANILA, Philippines?(UPDATE 2) A day after the election, four presidential candidates conceded to Senator Benigno ?Noynoy? Aquino III, currently the frontrunner in the political race that saw over 40 million Filipinos vote electronically for the first time for their leaders in the national and local levels.
Senators Manuel Villar and Richard Gordon, former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and JC de los Reyes of Kapatiran Party issued separate statements giving notice that they were dropping out of the contest and expressed their support for Aquino who was expected to be proclaimed the next president.
Villar and Gordon said that ?the people have spoken? and congratulated Aquino on his impending victory.
"Nagpasya na ang mga mamamayang Pilipino. Malinaw na sa kabila ng ating pagpupunyagi, hindi tayo nabiyayayaan ng tagumpay sa halalan noong Lunes [The Filipino people have decided. It is clear that despite our efforts, we were not blessed to win in Monday?s elections]," Villar said, reading a prepared statement before members of the media in his headquarters at the Starmall in Mandaluyong early Tuesday.
"Humaharap ako sa inyo ngayon upang tanggapin ang pasyang ito, upang igalang ang boses ng sambayanang Pilipino [I face you now to accept this decision, to respect the voice of the Filipino people]," said Villar who, before the elections, was considered Aquino?s closest rival for the highest post in the land.
"I fought a good fight?I congratulate Senator Noynoy Aquino on his victory. The challenges he and our country face are enormous and we should all work together," Villar, who was clad in white polo barong, said.
Meanwhile, Gordon asked his volunteers to ?support the new government.?
De los Reyes said that while he conceded to the electoral count, he would not give up ?the platform I was tasked to push, which is to finally enact the anti-dynasty law and abolish pork barrel.?
He also expressed support for Aquino in ?efforts we have in common? but did not say what these were.
As for Teodoro, he said he might seek another position ?if there would be a new system of government.?
Villar will remain a senator as he has yet to finish his six-year term while Gordon will return to private life and continue his volunteer work with the Philippine National Red Cross.
Villar lamented that he was the subject of lies during the campaign.
He said he believed that he would be given the chance to clear his name before the public.
"Ako ay naniniwala na sa darating na mga araw ako ay mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na linisin ang aking pangalan upang maliwanagan ang ating mga kababayan. Yan ang mahalaga sa akin higit sa anupamang bagay [I believe that someday I will be given the chance to clear my name before our countrymen. That is most important to me now]," he said.
Villar thanked his family, volunteers, supporters, and his party-mates for sticking it out with him in this election.
He said he would also remember the millions of Filipinos he met during the campaign trail, especially the poor.
"For the rest of my life, I will remain their champion. Bagamat ako ay hindi pinalad, ang aking pangarap na tapusin ang kahirapan ay hindi nagwawakas [Even though I wasn?t fortunate, my dream to end poverty is not finished]," he said.
Tuesday's public appearance capped Villar's aspiration for the highest office of the land which some said began as early as 2007 when he was re-elected senator.