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Grace Poe denies quitting race to give way to Roxas

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential bet Grace Poe on Thursday, May 5, denied rumors that she is withdrawing from the presidential race to give way to another candidate.

While not naming anyone, Poe was apparently referring to administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, who, after months of lagging in pre-election surveys, is now statistically tied with her for the second place.

Poe said she had been receiving messages from people asking if she had indeed withdrawn her candidacy. 

"Unang-una, lumabas 'yung survey na medyo nagkaroon sila ng tsansa. Hindi pa nila nahihintay 'yung isang survey pa na lumabas kung saan sinasabi nauna na naman tayo sa kanila. Basta nag-issue na lang ng statement na ‘dalawa na lang kaming lumalaban.’ This is never about just the people running, hindi ito tungkol sa kanya," Poe said.

(First of all, a survey was released showing they have a chance. They have not yet received the new survey wherein I got ahead of them again. They just issued a statement 'we're only two in this fight.' This is never about just the people running, this is not about him.)

Roxas and his camp claimed the momentum is now on their side and that the fight on May 9 will be between him and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the front runner.

In her Twitter account, Poe said she would not withdraw in favor of a candidate who is a "failure" and who would not win. Poe has repeatedly criticized Roxas' inefficiency while in government.

The neophyte senator was firm in saying she would not pull out of the race. Poe asserted she would not be a “sell-out” and would never trade Filipinos’ “beliefs and aspirations" for anything.

“Kaya sa mga iba diyan na nagsasabi na dapat ay pagbigyan na lang ang iba para dalawa na lang ang naglalaban, sino ba sila para magsabi kung sino ang dapat pipiliin ng ating mga kababayan?” Poe said in a press conference in Makati City on Thursday, May 5.

(So to those saying that I should give way so that only two would fight it out, who are they to say limit the people's choices?)

“Hindi po tayo sindikato na makikipag-ayusan kahit kanino para mawalan ng opsyon ang ating mga kababayan. Hindi po ito isang transaksyon para ibenta ang pangarap ng ating mga kababayan,” Poe added.

(We are not a syndicate that make deals with anyone. This is not a transaction to sell the dreams of our countrymen.)

Poe appeals to voters not to vote Duterte

Poe was on a fighting mood on Thursday, as she continued to hit 3 other contenders: Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and her closest rival Duterte.

Poe hinted that a Binay presidency would be a “corrupt" government; a Roxas presidency, a "callous" administration; and a Duterte administration, a government led by an "executioner." 

Four days before the election, Poe made a last-ditch appeal to the public not to vote for Duterte, calling him a "berdugo" or an executioner. The tough-talking mayor has been accused of extrajudicial killings in Davao City.

Recent surveys show that Poe, front runner for a long time, is now trailing Duterte by 7 to 11 percentage points nationwide.

“Ang ibig sabihin po ng ‘berdugo’ ay isang taong nakatakip ang mukha, na hindi natin talaga kilala, pero ang binibiktima ay ang sarili nating mga kababayan. Ito ay binibigti nila at mas lalong ginigipit,” Poe said.

(What an executioner means is a person who has a covered face, whom we cannot recognize, but he is victimizing our own people. They hang our people and they pressure them all the more.)

Poe implored the help of Filipino parents to think twice for their children, saying a Duterte presidency would threaten the country – a line that Binay had been saying in rallies since Duterte started topping surveys.

“Ang isang berdugong tinatakot tayo o ang isang gobyerno na kinakatakutan natin ay hindi po maaaring magbigay sa atin ng ating pinapangarap. Para po itong gamot na mas lalong makakasama sa atin, na mas lalong makakasama kaysa sa ating karamdaman,” Poe said.

(An executioner who threatens us or a government we fear will not give us what we dream of. This is like a pill that could make our condition worse.) – 

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email