In a joint press conference on Sunday, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who trails Vice President Leni Robredo by 16 percentage points in Pulse Asia’s March survey, called on the latter to withdraw from the presidential race.
He claims that Robredo’s campaign strategies are not working against the Marcos camp.
“I’m calling for Leni to withdraw kasi (because) whatever her doing is not effective against the Marcos. Withdraw, come and join us,” Moreno said.
In the same survey, Robredo is falling behind the later dictator’s son and namesake former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. by 32 percentage points (24%), with Marcos having a majority confidence of 56 percent.
The Manila mayor urged Robredo to “be a hero” and make a “supreme sacrifice.”
“Kung meron mang supreme sacrifice, ‘yung number two should do and start initiating the supreme sacrifice (If there ever is a supreme sacrifice, the number two should initiate it),” he said. “Let Leni withdraw. Withdraw, Leni, if you love your country. Kasi sila ang laban lang naman nila, laban lang kay Marcos (Because their only reason to fight is to run against Marcos).”
Moreno said all of this in a press conference with fellow presidentiables Senator Ping Lacson and ex-Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, where they practically just announced that they had no plans to withdraw from the race.
Meanwhile, Lacson clarified that he and his running mate Vicente “Tito” III they are not calling for Robredo or anybody to pull out from the presidential race.
“Ayaw din namin na mananawagan sila na mag-withdraw kami (We also don’t want them to call for us to withdraw),” Lacson said.
Robredo’s running mate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan came to her defense saying it’s only the vice president who is suitable for Filipinos.
“Si VP Leni lang ang daserb ng mga Pilipino’t Pilipina uhaw sa pamunuang tapat (Only VP Leni is deserved by Filipinos thirsty for honest leadership),” Pangilinan said.
But Robredo’s spokesperson rejected calls for her to withdraw.
“With three weeks to go before election day, we are at a time of great momentum for our People’s Campaign, and increasing clarity as regards which candidates can count on the people’s support when they enter voting booths on May 9.” Barry Gutierrez said in a statement.
He said that every candidate has the right to pursue their candidacy until the end.
“From the start, it has been the prerogative of every candidate to continue till the end, the same as it is the choice of a candidate to disregard surveys, rally attendance, endorsements, or any other conventional measure of support. We wish every candidate who decides to push through to the end, only the best,” he noted.
Gutirrez then asked who really benefits from the Easter presser of the trailing presidential candidates?
“But in making these choices, should we not ask ourselves: Must this assertion be made through bluster and falsehood? Who benefits from such theatrics? What is best for the Filipino people? Perhaps, silence would have had more depth; at the very least, it would exhibit less self-entitlement, fragility, and toxicity.
Gutierrez concluded his statement by thanking some of the presidential candidates at the Manila Peninsula event that made political alignments “even clearer”.
“We are thankful that the alignments have been made even clearer. And we remain focused on showing our people that a Robredo presidency will mean a victory for all Filipinos.”