Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler
CEBU, Philippines – If he’s bothered by reports that Liberal Party members and allies are jumping ship to support the candidacies of other presidential aspirants, party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II didn’t show it on Thursday, March 3, in an interview with media.
“Yung mga lumilipat, mabuti nalang rin lang na lumipat sila kasi ibig sabihin hindi naman talaga sila naniniwala sa kawsa natin, sa isinusulong natin (Those who’ve jumped ship, it’s actually better that they did because that means they don’t really believe in our cause),” Roxas told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to a shipbuilding company in Lapu-Lapu City.
Roxas and his running mate, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, are in Cebu for a series of events, including at least two proclamation rallies with President Benigno Aquino III, LP chairman.
“Ang laban natin ay para sa tuwid at tapat na pamamahala. Yung mga bumabaliktad, yung mga umaalis, baka naman gusto nila yung baluktot sa nakaraan, gusto nila yung ibang paraan. Kami, malinaw kami. Doon kami sa malinis sa tuwid na pamamahala, kahit na mahirap ito kasi hindi madali na manatili tayo sa tuwid at sa tapat,” added Roxas, expounding on his campaign’s promise to continue the current administration’s “Daang Matuwid (Straight Path).
(We’re fighting for honest governance. Those who’ve changed sides, those who’ve left, maybe they want the crooked path, they want a different way of doing things. For us, it’s clear. We’re on the side of honest governance, even if it’s difficult to stay on the straight path.)
Several allies of the ruling party have reportedly switched allegiances in the past months. LP members in the Davao area, for instance, have expressed their support for Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. A key ally in the province of Cebu, 5th District Representative Ace Durano, is the campaign manager of Senator Grace Poe.
While Roxas downplayed reports of turncoat allies, he added that he wasn’t keeping track because he didn’t have time for it.
Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice, spokesman for the ruling party, had earlier said LP members who choose to support other candidates should just leave the party if they’re not ready to toe the line.
Does Roxas share the same view? “There are processes. They should just man up and if they can’t support Daang Matuwid, they’re free to leave,” he said. (READ: Can 'Daang Matuwid' win a Philippine election?)
Cebu is the most vote-rich province in the country, home to over 2.7 million registered voters for the 2016 elections. Roxas dominated in the province when he ran for vice president in 2010, winning in practically all towns.
But the 2010 race may be different, given the make-up of his rivals for the presidency. Vice President Jejomar Binay has the support of the Garcias, a politically-entrenched family in Cebu. Poe has the support of the Duranos, while Duterte is banking on the promise of giving Bisaya-speaking Cebu a president who speaks their language.
“Nangangailangan tayo ng suporta mula sa ating mga kababayan. Naniniwala ako na sa dulo ating mga kababayan ang siyang maghahatid na kung sino ang magiging pangulo. Desisyon nila ito (I need the support of our countrymen. I believe that in the end, our countrymen will choose the next president [and not political families]. This is their decision to make),” said Roxas.
Asked if he was also courting the support of other political families in the province, Roxas replied, “Yung mga malalaking pamilya, ibigay mo na sa kanila. Ako, kakampi ko mamamayanang Pilipino (They can have the big political families. I’m allies with the Filipino people).”
Roxas and the ruling party have also courted the support of influential political families all over the country. – Rappler.com