MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential bet Leni Robredo on Tuesday, May 10, urged chief rival Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr to stop "unfair" allegations of cheating, as the race between the two hopefuls tightens.
"Ngayon po hindi pa tapos ang bilangan. 'Di po tayo nagsasabi na tayo ay panalo na, 'di po tayo magsasabi na nandadaya ang iba, 'di po tayo magsasabi na talo na… pero yung hinihingi lang po natin, sana po huminahon tayo. Hintayin natin ang official na count ng Comelec [Commission on Elections]. At kung ano man ang labas nito, sana respetuhin natin," Robredo said in a press conference, the first since polls closed Monday afternoon, May 9.
(The counting is not yet over. We will not claim victory, we will not say we've been cheated, nor will we say we've lost. But what I ask is for everyone to stay calm. Let's wait for the official Comelec count. And whatever the result is, I hope we respect it.)
Robredo currently leads Marcos in the vice presidential race, but only by a very slim margin.
Marcos initially led the unofficial and partial count from the Comelec's transparency server but was soon overtaken by Robredo as more precincts from her known bailiwicks began transmitting results.
The Marcos camp has cried foul over Robredo's rise, accusing the Camarines Sur representative – and the party she belongs to – of rigging the elections.
"There was a point in the counting na tayo naman ang kulelat. Noong kulelat tayo, nade-depress tayo pero hindi tayo nagbabato ng unfair na accusations. Never nating sinabi na lamang si Senator Marcos dahil nandadaya siya. Kasi I think napaka-unfair 'yun na accusation," said Robredo.
(There was a point in the counting when we trailed behind. While I was trailing, it was depressing but we never hurled unfair accusations. We never said that Senator Marcos was leading only because he was cheating. Because I think that's a very unfair accusation.)
The senator's son Sandro, in tweets that have since been deleted, used the hashtag #DayaangMatuwid (straight cheating), a play on the LP's "Daang Matuwid" catchphrase, to describe the supposed discrepancies.
Robredo’s daughter Aika, one of her chief proxies in sorties around the country, shot back by denying the cheating allegations, while using the hashtag #ProgresiBongMandaramBong, a play on Marcos' campaign promise of progress and development.
Marcos is the only son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, who ruled the country for over two decades.
Supporting Duterte, too
Robredo started off with dismal numbers – a low of 1% – before she slowly climbed in preference surveys, hitting a high of 30%. The latest polls held before election day showed Robredo and Marcos neck-and-neck in the race.
The LP candidate also belied viral news reports that said Robredo was going to quit as vice president should Duterte win and that the LP wants to assure a Robredo win because it plans to impeach Duterte.
Echoing the words of her standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, Robredo said it was clear that Duterte would be the next president. "Hinihikayat niya tayo na ibigay ang lahat sa suporta sa kanya, para makamit natin ang ating mga kolektibong pangarap. Dahil 'yan naman ang tunay na diwa ng pagiging Pilipino," said Robredo, referring to Roxas' earlier concession speech.
(Roxas encouraged us to give all our support to Duterte so we can achieve our collective dreams. Because that's the true meaning of being a Filipino.)
Addressing speculation that she'd be unwilling to work with Duterte, Robredo added: "I've always repeatedly said this in the past that the amount of support that I was willing to give Secretary Mar would be the same kind of support that I should give whoever wins the presidency….he deserves my 100% support. And this is good for the country. It will not benefit the Filipinos if I would not give him 100%." – Rappler.com