Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has conceded to vice presidential frontrunner Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and called on other candidates to “respect the people’s will.”
“I humbly concede my vice presidential bid to Rep Leni Robredo, who, by all accounts and with 96 percent of the votes already tallied, is our country’s presumptive Vice President-elect,” Cayetano said in a statement on Thursday.
“Rep. Leni is not only leading the [vice presidential]race, [but]she has clearly won it,” he added.
As of 11:44 a.m., Thursday, Robredo was leading her closest rival, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., by 212,429 votes.
The partial and unofficial count represents 95.75 percent of the votes.
With Robredo leading the race by a slim margin, Marcos has refused to concede.
Cayetano said with the elections now over, the country must now unite under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.
He was the running mate of Duterte.
“While losing an election hurts, nothing is more painful than the sight of a divided country. Thus, I call on all the other candidates to respect the people’s will and rally behind presumptive President-elect Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte and his presumptive Vice President-elect Leni Robredo,” Cayetano said.
“Let us begin the journey toward healing and unification,” the senator added.
Cayetano expressed confidence that Robredo will also “respect and value” the people’s full support to Duterte and “his vision to end the disorder in the people’s lives and introduce real change to our country.”
“I call on the people to rally behind our newly elected leaders. It is in this crucial hour that our voice is needed the most. Let us work together and let the process of real change begin,” he said.
Cayetano accepting defeat was welcomed by Robredo.
“We thank Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano for his statement about the election results. We remain open to working with him for the progress of our people,” she in a statement.
Cayetano was also considered as the running mate of Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd’ ahead of Robredo after Sen. Grace Poe turned down such offer from the LP and went on to run for the presidency.
Robredo’s camp earlier cried foul over claims of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that the Aquino administration is rigging the polls to favor the Camarines Sur lawmaker.
Georgina Hernandez, spokesman for Robredo, said unsubstantiated claims of poll fraud is offensive to the hardworking members of the Robredo campaign team.
“We respect the opinion of Senator Miriam [Santiago] but if we look at the surveys of Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations way back in April, [Robredo’s] numbers have been rising. [This rise is a fruit of the labor and sweat of her supporters and volunteers],” Hernandez added.
“Para sabihin na ito’y minanipula lang ay malaking insulto sa kanilang pagsisikap. Kita naman po natin ang takbo ng partial at unofficial tally. Nakalagay po ito sa mga websites na puwedeng tingnan ng publiko anumang oras [To say that this lead (in the race) was only manipulated is an insult to their efforts. We have seen the tallies, and these are available in websites for the public to see anytime],” she added.
WITH LLANESCA T. PANTI