Binay, Roxas bank on party machinery
RIVALS of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are unfazed by his topping two recent nationwide surveys.
Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas said he was relying on the ruling party’s strong machinery in local electoral politics.
Vice President Jejomar Binay is also banking on his machinery, while Sen. Grace Poe vows to work harder.
“I remain confident that in the end we will prevail,” he told reporters in Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental. “In fact, as one of my rivals said, there are only two campaigns with political infrastructure or machinery on the ground, and the Liberal Party is one of those two.”
“Our strategy is to continue speaking the truth. We will not invent stuff. We will not resort to insults to put down our rivals and raise our popularity,” he said.
Asked why the LP’s strength with local officials was not being reflected in the surveys, Roxas said: “The local campaign had just started. As you have seen, all the barangay chairs and councilors, congressmen and mayors, support daang matuwid (straight path governance).”
The other day, Binay said the contest would be between him and Roxas because of their large political machinery.
Binay’s camp remained optimistic he would win the presidency amid a second survey in as many days showing him trailing Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe.
“The Vice President will continue to persevere to touch the hearts and minds of the people that his antipoor programs will effectively uplift their lives,” Binay campaign spokesperson Rico Quicho said.
In a statement, Quicho Tuesday said Binay’s core and volunteer groups were all fired up to work for the victory of the Vice President.
Poe to work harder
In Surigao City, Poe remained unfazed after relinquishing the lead to Duterte in the surveys of Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia.
Poe said the shifting lead in the surveys showed that a candidate should not relax, especially with just a few weeks left in the campaign period.
“We just have to work harder and get our message through to our people. But I am still thankful for the strong support we’re getting. If there is one thing this campaign has taught me is nothing is certain,” said Poe in an interview during a break in the campaign in Surigao City.
This is only the second time for Poe to campaign in Mindanao, after visiting Zamboanga in March. Poe went to Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur where the independent candidate was met by local politicians—former Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers, gubernatorial candidate Guillermo Romarate, congressional candidate Constantino Navarro III, Butuan Rep. Lawrence Fortun and Agusan del Sur Rep. Erlpe John Amante.
Cebu Rep. Joseph Ace Durano, Poe’s campaign manager, said they had already accepted that Duterte would run away with the Mindanao vote. Durano said the goal of Poe was to place second and minimize the gap in the Mindanao vote.
“We’re happy that we have allies who welcome us and support us in Mindanao even if we know there is a hometown favorite here. That’s why we have to visit as many places here to improve our chances,” Poe said.
Build on momentum
Duterte’s camp welcomed the results of the Pulse Asia survey.
“We are humbled by the results of the recent surveys that placed Mayor Rody Duterte in the lead in voter preference,” Leoncio Evasco Jr., national campaign manager of Duterte, said in a statement.
“We welcome this with guarded optimism, as we are fully aware that the battle is not yet over,” said Evasco, who is also the incumbent mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol.
Evasco said the mayor’s camp would continue to build on the momentum and aim for “a complete, decisive and indisputable victory.”
“We urge the people to remain steadfast and to continue to reach out to the undecided,” he said.
The Bohol mayor urged Duterte supporters to continue persuading other voters to rally behind the mayor.
No longer a joke
With more people realizing he is no longer a “side-show joke,” an anti-Duterte vote will emerge to stop the mayor from winning it all in May, the spokesperson of Roxas said.
“It’s actually the opposite,” said Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez when asked if they were worried that momentum would swing in Duterte’s favor.
“Now, more people are realizing that Mayor Duterte is a serious candidate and not just a side-show joke, which was the previous impression of him,” he told reporters at LP’s Balay headquarters in Quezon City.
“They’re now taking seriously his pronouncements and his candidacy. And I think there’s a real possibility that there will be a consolidation of the anti-Duterte vote,” Gutierrez said.
“More and more people will wonder if they really want Mayor Duterte to be their president given his inconsistency, his weak position on China, his total lack of any diplomatic ability and what he has said on killings,” he said.
“So, I think there’s a slowly emerging constituency that is going to his high survey numbers. And you know that will eventually bring his numbers down,” Gutierrez said. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Niña P. Calleja
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