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It’s Roxas-Robredo vs Duterte-Marcos, says LP standard-bearer

ALBAY, Philippines – Democracy or a “return” to martial law? 

A day after the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) endorsed Rodrigo Duterte and Ferdinand Marcos Jr for the May 9 elections, the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer sought to narrow down the race for the presidency and vice presidency to a choice between democracy and “clean” governance or the dark days of a dictatorship. 

Matingkad na matingkad po… Roxas-Robredo para sa demokrasya, para sa malinis at hayag na pamamahala; o Duterte-Marcos para balik sa Batas Militar, balik sa karahasan, balik sa sila lang ang marunong sa ating bansa, at sila lang ang may hawak ng pondo ng ating bansa. ‘Yan po ang pagpapasiyahan ng ating mga kababayan sa ika-9 ng Mayo,” Manuel "Mar" Roxas II said in a chance interview with media on Thursday, May 5, as the randem barnstormed the Bicol region. 

(It’s clear as day: It’s Roxas-Robredo if you want democracy, clean and honest governance or Duterte-Marcos if you want Martial Law, a return to violence, a return to singular rule over the country, where they control the country’s funds. That’s what we’re going to have to decide on May 9.) 

The popular but controversial Duterte leads presidential preference surveys by anywhere between 7 and 10 percentage points, while Marcos is tied with Roxas’ running mate Camarines Sur 3rd district Representative Leni Robredo in the vice presidential preference polls. 

Duterte is famous for his tough stand against crime, repeatedly saying in interviews that he is not afraid to go after – and even kill – those who break the law. He has also been linked to the so-called Davao Death Squad, a group of vigilantes in the city that targets criminals. Duterte has shifted from jokingly accepting the allegation to insisting that he does not believe in extrajudicial killings. 

Marcos, meanwhile, is the only son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The older Marcos ruled the country for more than 2 decades. He placed the Philippines under martial towards the end of his second term as president supposedly because of the threat of insurgencies.  

Duterte’s running mate is actually Marcos' party mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayateno. But Duterte has said in the past that he is willing to relinquish the presidency to Marcos should he fail to deliver on his promise to “stop” crime in 3-6 months.

In many areas in the North, for example, various groups are rooting for a Duterte-Marcos tandem.

And on Wednesday, May 4, the INC endorsed Duterte and Marcos in its marching orders to its members.

Malinaw na malinaw, matingkad na matingkad po ang pagkakaiba ng Roxas-Robredo kumpara doon sa Duterte-Marcos,” Roxas said. (The difference between the Roxas-Robredo tandem and the Duterte-Marcos tandem is clear.) 

Even before Duterte or Marcos led preference polls, the LP tandem has been especially critical of them. Roxas and Duterte have repeatedly gotten into heated verbal spats over personal attacks and policy differences. 

Robredo, meanwhile, is the only vice presidential candidate who has voiced the most opposition to martial law and the possibility of a Marcos returning to Malacañang. 

Nananalig po ako, pipiliin ng mga kababayan natin ang malinis. Pipiliin ng mga kababayan natin ‘yung hayag, ‘yung tapat, na nakita na nila, na naranasan na nila, at alam nila na magpapatuloy ng pundasyon sa ating kaginhawaan at sa ating kaunlaran,” added Roxas. 

(I believe that our countrymen will chose candidates who are clean. They will pick those who are honest, those with a good track record, those who they know will build on the foundation of our prosperity and development.)

Candidates have only until Saturday, May 7, to campaign before Filipinos cast their votes on May 9, Monday. –