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Presidential candidates Senator Manny Pacquiao and Leody de Guzman have rejected calls for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race.
Pacquiao and de Guzman’s separate remarks come after presidential hopefuls Isko Moreno Domagoso, Ping Lacson, and Norberto Gonzales, in a press conference at the Manila Peninsula on Sunday (April 17), urged VP Robredo to back out as the election nears.
In a press conference on Monday at the Rizal Park in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, de Guzman noted that Robredo is way far ahead in surveys from Domagoso, Lacson, and Gonzales.
“Parang suntok sa buwan ang kanilang panawagan … Napaka-imposible naman na gawin ni VP Leni na siya ang mag-withdraw (Their calls is a long shot. Very impossible for VP Leni to withdraw her candidacy),” the Laban ng Masa standard-bearer said.
Instead, he called for the candidates to unite against former senator and dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr, who is currently the survey frontrunner.
Meanwhile, Pacquaio’s campaign manager Buddy Zamora also rejected the Manila mayor’s challenge, saying that Pacquiao believes that the choice is up to the people.
“Because Senator Pacquiao believes that the choice is up to the people and since everybody filed the candidacy for presidency, he’d want the choice to be really coming from the people, not from any calls for others to withdraw,” Zamora added.
Pacquiao was supposed to join the press conference held at the Manila Peninsula Hotel where Moreno made the call. However, Pacquiao made the decision to join the press conference in General Santos City on the same day.
“The theme was supposed to be for unity which is a very vague notion. I think they were going to say that they were not going to withdraw from the election because to my mind, it’s quite illogical for anyone to be withdrawing at the last minute,” Pacquiao’s campaign manager said.
Other candidates present in the program such as Lacson and Vicente Sotto III have since said that it was only Isko Moreno’s idea to call for Robredo’s withdrawal from the race.
Domagoso’s chief strategist Lito Banayo also confirmed that the mayor’s appeal to Robredo to drop out of the race was not a team call but an “off-the-cuff comment.”
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. The views expressed are her own.
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