MANAOAG, PANGASINAN: Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe on Saturday doubted the sincerity of the Liberal Party’s (LP) call for unity, saying that it should have initiated talks earlier.
In an interview with reporters here, Poe said the request for dialogue of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and LP standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd came too late.
She added that the request should have been communicated to her camp before the start of the campaign period.
“I think especially when it comes to unity, earlier on would have been better in order to at least prevent the personal attacks (against me),” Poe said.
The senator also said that if Aquino and Roxas are really sincere with their appeal, they could have called her or sent her a text message but, instead, they made the request through media.
“I’m waiting for their call or their text message but I have not received any.”
She added that the call for unity could have prevented the filing of disqualification cases against her.
The senator admitted that she has no idea what Aquino and Roxas wants to achieve with a dialogue with her amid speculations that they want to convince Poe to drop out of the presidential race and support Roxas’ bid instead.
Poe, however, said such option will not work because the only way to convince the electorate to support a candidate is by disseminating platforms and not by eliminating opponents.
“For me this is not a process of elimination that can guarantee anybody’s victory.
The people will choose who they think is honest, sincere and the one who can really serve for the good of the country” she pointed out.
Roxas lamented that by turning down their offer of a dialogue, Poe rejected national unity.
“We called for national unity. Binara po ito ng ating kinausap kaya hindi na natin malalaman kung ano ang magiging kahihitnatnan (This was rebuffed by the other camp so we won’t know for sure what will happen),” Roxas told reporters ahead of the Miting de Avance or the last campaign rally on Saturday.
Roxas argued that his call for unity is not about boosting his chances at winning but consolidating the forces of democracy against the “dictatorial tendencies” of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Roxas said that the Davao mayor has clearly embraced the ideals of dictatorship by coddling the New People’s Army, advocating an iron-fist rule that kills suspected criminals and threats of abolishing Congress to escape impeachment.
“I am confident on winning because my numbers are going up while Grace’s numbers are down. We have the momentum. I made the call publicly because such actions by the country’s leaders should not be done at the backdoor. It should not be among few people. I am just being consistent with my stand of being transparent,” Roxas said.
“It’s clear where Mayor Duterte wants to bring us. He has an iron hand and a dirty hand for he can’t explain his wealth. He wants us to pay revolutionary taxes to the NPA. And we don’t want these things to happen,” he stressed.
In the last Social Weather Stations survey before the May 9 balloting, Duterte (33 percent) is way ahead of his rivals Poe (22 percent) and Roxas (20 percent).
“What we want is democracy and freedom of the press that will go hand in hand in promoting good governance,” Roxas said in closing.