LIBERAL Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd appeared unperturbed by reports that some stalwarts of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are poised to dump him to support another presidential candidate.
“They are welcome to support whoever it is that they want to support. They’re going to do what they are going to do anyway. So I’m focused on explaining to all people, campaigning to all people and presenting our program,” Roxas told The Manila Times on Tuesday.
He was reacting to an exclusive report by this paper that some LP officials will shift support to the tandem of Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero if the survey ratings of Roxas and his running mate, Rep. Leni Robredo, will not improve.
Roxas ranked third in the latest survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS) with 21 percent.
Vice President Jejomar Binay topped the survey with 31 percent, followed by Poe who got 24 percent.
Robredo also trailed Escudero and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who got 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Despite his low survey rating, Roxas believes he is in a “very good place.”
He said the people are initially attracted to newcomers but voters will eventually pick him in the end.
“I courted you for a very long time. You know me very well. I am your neighbor. I know you are just weighing the new candidates and you will eventually come back to the one who is righteous, clean, honest and decent candidate,” Roxas added.
He said he also believes that Robredo is a “very, very strong candidate” who will surely win the vice presidential race.
“I see Leni and the crowds take to her instantly. She’s sincere, she’s fresh, she’s grounded, she speaks from experience, she’s not a politician,” Roxas added.
The former Interior secretary said the decision of President Benigno Aquino 3rd junking the proposed P2,000 increase for Social Security System (SSS) pensioners did not hurt his candidacy.
“Hindi lahat ng Pilipino ay makitid ang pag-iisip. In fact, higit na nakararami sa mga Pilipino ay may kalawakan ang pag-iisip [Not all Filipinos are narrow-minded. In fact, majority of Filipinos are broad-minded],” Roxas told the Bulong-Pulungan breakfast forum.
“Daang matuwid [straight path]is saying no to this SSS bill. Daang matuwid is not a cheap political [means to get brownie points]. Daang matuwid is about being real for the welfare of the majority. It is not about giving importance to what is popular and whatever the winds say,” he explained, saying he would have made the same decision.
Daang matuwid is the good-governance mantra of the Aquno administration.
“SSS would be on the brink of bankruptcy if we will approve the SSS bill. And we do not want to destroy the trust fund of 31 million contributors,” Roxas said.