PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd led Liberal Party (LP) members across the country in a show of force, gathering on Thursday to assure presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of victory in the May polls despite Roxas’ lethargic survey numbers.
In a huge assembly at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City (Metro Manila), LP members and their allies from other political parties that include governors, mayors and lawmakers took turns in assuring Roxas that he is headed for a triumph next month because of Roxas’ rock solid competence and a name untainted by corruption.
Prior to the show of force, the LP standard-bearer scored 18 and 19 percent in pre-election surveys this week that are only good for third and fourth place, respectively.
“Surveys are just causing confusion. We can’t gamble on this. Must we depend on chance here?” President Aquino said.
“Sixty-nine out of the 81 governors are our allies. Don’t believe in surveys. After the elections, you’ll see, we’ll be the winners,” LP treasurer and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali, a good friend of the President, told the crowd.
“[In Cebu, Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo will win],” Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide 3rd said.
Leni Robredo is Roxas running mate.
Cebu has 2.7 million million registered voters–the largest in the country.
“[In the Bicol Region, Mar and Leni will win. We don’t believe in surveys],” former Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is seeking a congressional return, proclaimed.
The Bicol Region has 3.1 million voters.
Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel said “Mar and Leni will overwhelmingly win in our province.”
Surigao del Sur belongs to the Caraga Region, home to 1.55 million registered voters.
Capiz Rep. Frednil Castro said the support for Roxas and Robredo is so overwhelming that even their foes are uniting to support the administration bets.
Maguindanao Gov. Toto Mangudadatu, who cited Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao rivals–incumbent Gov. Mujiv Hataman and Sulu Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan–who are contesting the ARMM governorship but are both backing the candidacies of Roxas and Robredo.
Roxas has never led any pre-election survey for the presidency, while his rivals Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay already ranked first in separate occasions.
The most recent survey leader is Duterte.
“The surveys are heavily influenced by the audacity of statements. The daring words tickle the listeners. But once we sit down together and contemplate on what have been said and it’s time to vote, that’s the only time the final decision will be made,” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said.
“At the end of the day, the people will choose the best person for the job, and that is Mar. The people will pick the one with a gameplan, not just audacity,” Belmonte added.
The LP, however, denied that it was a loyalty check.
“It’s not a loyalty check. Pampalakas ng loob [It’s a moral booster]… to everybody… that we are still all together,” Belmonte, the LP vice chairman, said.
“You can call it show of force, victory march… you can lump it together to describe this. In elections, there is always this hype [that we don’t have support], and we need to respond to this. As you can see, those who have been with us in the beginning are still around,” Caloocan City (Metro Manila) Rep. Edgar Erice, the LP spokesman, said.
Pampanga Rep. Joseller Guiao likened Roxas to a relentless basketball team that has the stamina and delivers clutch plays in the winning moments.
Hearing such words, Roxas delivered thunderous claims of winning but his voice cracked when mentioning random acts of kindness that he receives from his supporters in the campaign trail.
“Mananalo tayo dahil hindi tayo corrupt. Mananalo tayo dahil hindi tayo astang diktador. Mananalo tayo dahil tayo ay tunay na Pilipino [We will win because we are not corrupt. We will win because we do not act like a dictator. We will win because we are true-blooded Filipinos],” he said.