Aquino to voters: Urge Roxas, Poe to unite
President Benigno Aquino III on Friday called on voters to convince their presidential candidates to unite against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who he said may be a “threat to democracy.”
“Talk to your principals and say we need to see a demonstration of country before self,” said Aquino during an exclusive interview with Inquirer editors and reporters in Malacañang,
He was responding to questions on a possible Duterte presidency.
Asked if he would again try to bring together ruling Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe, Aquino said he already tried. But now it will be up to the people to convince their candidates.
“Can I actually do it by myself? What if more voices start speaking now? And I need all of your commitment to unify us,” Aquino said.
The President said this a couple of hours before Roxas held a press conference to convince Poe to meet with him and unite against a looming dictatorship.
Duterte, the current survey front-runner, has repeatedly dangled the possibility of a return to strongman rule to curb criminality and stop corruption.
“So if he starts doing all of these then really there is a threat to what we have established especially after Edsa (People Power),” Aquino told Inquirer.
In a later television interview, Aquino pointed out that Duterte has only 30 percent of voters backing him, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
“Why don’t we remove that problem or that threat, or that insecurity by uniting the 70 and defeating the 30?” he said.
Asked who he was referring to when he said “everybody” should “try and get together,” Aquino affirmed that he was referring to Poe, Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay and even Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“But the whole point is, any two of them unite … we have more than 40 percent. It defeats the 30 percent,” he said.
The last SWS survey showed that 33 percent of voters preferred the tough-talking mayor. His contenders are trailing behind—Poe with 22 percent, Roxas with 20 percent, Binay with 13 percent and Santiago with two percent.