MANILA, Philippines – If not disqualification, withdrawal from the race.
Presidential bet Grace Poe on Saturday, May 7, hit the camp of administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II for finding new ways to get her out of the presidential race.
Poe, in a speech during her miting de avance in Plaza Miranda, said it was Roxas' camp that sought her disqualification from the presidential elections. But since it did not succeed, Poe said the camp now wants her to end her candidacy because of a supposed "threat to democracy."
Earlier, Roxas called on Poe to talk for the "unity of the country." The aim of this is to "unite" the two, who are now statistically tied in pre-election surveys, to prevent a government led by front runner Rodrigo Duterte.
"Kung naalala ninyo, sila rin naman ang nagsampa ng kaso laban sa akin e. Sila rin naman ang nagpa-disqualify sa akin sa Korte Suprema. 'Nung hindi gumana 'yun at ako ay tumakbo, ngayon nakikita nila may banta sa kabila, may banta raw sa ating demokrasya kaya kailangan ako ay umatras," Poe said.
(If you remember, they filed the case against me. They are the ones who sought my disqualification in the Supreme Court. When that didn't work, now they see a threat from the other camp, they say there's a threat to our democracy so I have to withdraw.)
Poe reiterated only the people have the right to choose, as she criticized Roxas’ camp for wanting a decision to be made by a select few.
"Nandito ako tumatakbo, ipinipresenta sa inyo ang aking sarili, lahat ng aking kakulangan pero lahat din ng aking plano para sa inyo para kayo ang may kapangyarihan na mamili at hindi lamang sila na may mga posisyon na, mga may kaya, mga may makinarya," she said.
(Now I am running, I present myself to you – all my flaws and my plans – so you have the power to choose and not just them who are in power, who are rich, and who have the machinery.)
Poe maintained that she and Roxas have no reason to talk if the discussion would be about her possible withdrawal.
The senator asserted she does not want to continue the supposed flaws of the Aquino administration, which caused the people's problems.
"Sa dinami-dami ba naman ng mga sinabi ninyo sa akin, sa lahat ng mga problemang narinig kong pinagdaraanan ninyo, sa lahat ng mali sa sistema na tinatamasa natin ngayon, ngayon pa ba ako papayag na umatras para maipagpatuloy ang dati nang mali? Hindi."
(With all the things you said against me, with all your problems you told me, with all the faults of the system that we have now, do you think I would now agree to withdraw so the errors would continue? No.)
"Mga kababayan, naniniwala ako na kailangan magkaisa tayo, naniniwala ako sa unity at ako ay bukas sa pag-uusap kung ito ay sinsero. Pero kung ang pag-uusapan natin ay para ako ay sumuko, kung ang pag-uusapan natin ay para isuko ko ang mga pangarap ninyo at aking paninindigan ay huwag na lang tayong mag-usap."
(Countrymen, I believe in unity and I am open to that if it is sincere. But if we will only talk about my withdrawal, if we will only talk about giving up the people's dreams and my principles, let's not talk.)
Poe maintained she would not trade Filipinos' rights for any agreement or deals. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org