Mar Roxas, a former Philippines interior secretary backed by the current president in his bid to lead the country, said in a televised news conference Saturday that he will continue his campaign after failing to convince Senator Grace Poe to unite against frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte.
President Benigno Aquino on Friday called for a united front to defeat Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City, in the May 9 elections. That followed a pronouncement from Roxas that he and Poe should talk as the “spectre of dictatorship” looms. Poe refused to withdraw from the race, saying she will remain as an alternative choice for Filipinos.
The final Pulse Asia Research Inc. pre-election poll showed Duterte with 33 percent support, Roxas 22 percent and Poe 21 percent. Social Weather Stations’ poll released Friday showed a similar number for Duterte, 22 percent for Poe and 20 percent for Roxas.
Duterte’s populist rhetoric to rid the country of criminals and deal with infrastructure bottlenecks has won him strong support among Filipino voters. Investors, however, are wary of the election outcome and whether the economic gains under Aquino can be sustained.