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Candidates cap campaign with Metro rallies

/ 03:48 AM May 08, 2016
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte kisses the Philippine flag during his meeting de avance in Luneta Park. PHOTO BY MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte kisses the Philippine flag during his meeting de avance in Luneta Park. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

After crisscrossing the country for three months, five presidential candidates led by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte converged in vote-rich Metro Manila on Saturday for their final rallies ahead of Monday’s national elections.

Duterte and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, held their final rally at Rizal Park, drawing a huge crowd.

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READ: Duterte to Filipinos: I am ready to be PH father

“We have already won,” Duterte’s supporters chanted, referring to the Davao mayor’s huge lead in the voter preference polls.

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READ: Duterte promises supporters to do to PH what he had done for Davao

The National Capital Region Police Office put the crowd estimate at 300,000 as of 6:30 p.m.

READ: NCRPO: 300,000 supporters attend Duterte, Cayetano miting de avance

Duterte’s closest rival for the presidency, Sen. Grace Poe, ended her campaign at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo district where she launched her bid for a Senate seat in 2013.

READ: Poe attacks admin bet anew for ‘asking her to withdraw from running’

President Aquino’s chosen candidate, Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, running third in the polls, made his last stand at Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

On President Aquino’s urging, Roxas on Friday tried to get Poe to withdraw from the race, believing that her votes would push him ahead of Duterte. But Poe, determined to finish the race and believing she could beat the trash-talking Davao mayor, refused.

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READ: ‘Batang Cubao’ Roxas campaigns for last time in 2nd hometown

RALLYING TO THE FLAG A member of a dance group holds up the Philippine flag at the start  of the Liberal Party’s “miting de avance” at Quezon Memorial Circle on Saturday night.  President Aquino and his Cabinet joined LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in their last rally before Monday’s elections. RAFFY LERMA

RALLYING TO THE FLAG A member of a dance group holds up the Philippine flag at the start of the Liberal Party’s “miting de avance” at Quezon Memorial Circle on Saturday night. President Aquino and his Cabinet joined LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in their last rally before Monday’s elections. RAFFY LERMA

‘I will win’

Vice President Jejomar Binay, running fourth in the polls, returned to his bailiwick, Makati City, to make a final appeal to voters to send him to Malacañang.

READ: Binay vows to win by silent majority, warns against election fraud

“Trust me, on Election Day, we will win. I will be the next President of the Philippines,” Binay told cheering supporters at his final rally.

Police estimated the crowd at 12,000, but Binay’s party, the United Nationalist Alliance, said it was 60,000.

Binay called on President Aquino to ensure the clean and orderly conduct of the elections, citing reported problems about how the vote-counting machines read ballots.

“This early, I have heard of incidents, especially in Mindanao, that are worrisome. There are reports that the names of those voted for were not reflected [on voter receipts],” Binay said.

“Mr. President, I appeal to you not as the Vice President but as an ordinary Filipino citizen. I hope you use your power as the father of the nation to ensure clean and peaceful elections on Monday,” he said.

READ: Binay: I will win with more than 15 million votes

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Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Bongbong Marcos join supporters in a street party outside their campaign headquarters in West Triangle, Quezon City.  RICHARD REYES

‘I will never quit’

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, with 2 percent voter support in the polls, changed her mind about not holding a final rally and joined about 1,000 supporters,  mostly youth volunteers, in a street party outside her campaign headquarters in West Triangle, Quezon City.

She showed up at the party past 7 p.m. and assured her supporters that she was still in the race.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: I will never quit, I will never stop, I will never withdraw,” she said.

“I owe it to the Filipino people who believe in my leadership and who yearn for long-overdue reforms,” she added.

She was referring to President Aquino’s desperate call on Duterte’s rivals to unite to prevent the victory of the Davao mayor, who he said was a dictator in the making.

READ: Aquino to voters: Urge Roxas, Poe to unite

Not only Poe but also Binay and Santiago refused. Reports from Marlon Ramos, Niña P. Calleja, Leila B. Salaverria, Tarra Quismundo and Dona Z. Pazzibugan/TVJ

 

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TAGS: Alan Peter Cayetano, Elections 2016, elections featured, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas, Metro Manila, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, national elections, Rizal Park, Rodrigo Duterte
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