The request – and wish – of various quarters for a unified front against the return of a Marcos to Malacañang and a de facto extension of the Duterte regime is not happening.
Isko Moreno insists that it will be a three-way race between himself, Leni Robredo and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. while Manny Pacquiao says his followers are not to be underestimated.
As for Ping Lacson, he says he’s in the race to the very end.
The three “lesser” presidential candidates who have all performed poorly in most surveys refuse to back down from the race and unite behind one candidate in order to prevent a Marcos presidency, which they all agree would be disastrous to the country.
Moreno went so far as to say that should he withdraw from the race, it would help rather than harm the candidacy of Marcos Jr. Ernesto Ramel Jr., chairman of Aksyon Demokratiko under which Moreno is running, said surveys had stated that their bet “is the top second choice” of most voters.
Moreno’s campaign manager, Lito Banayo, also downplayed the latest Pulse Asia survey showing the Manila mayor at a distant third behind frontrunners Marcos Jr. and Robredo.
He cited the results of lesser-known survey firm Tangere, which saw a three-way race between Moreno, Marcos Jr. and Robredo.
Moreno’s camp said they will release this week a commissioned survey showing that the Manila mayor had the greatest odds of a come-from-behind victory.
Banayo said it was a fallacy to believe that Moreno’s possible withdrawal would benefit Robredo.
Moreno voters would likely shift their support to Marcos Jr. should the Manila mayor back out from the race, he said.
Perceived as the weakest of the three, Lacson said over the weekend that he had been asked to drop his presidential bid and support a Robredo-Sotto tandem instead.
Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto is Lacson’s running mate and has performed better at the surveys, even landing at the top spot among the VP bets at the start of the campaign period.
Lacson did not identify the person who had approached him while in Pampanga during a sortie, only that the same person claimed that he or she could make Robredo’s running mate Kiko Pangilinan back out in place of Sotto.
“I rejected the offer,” said Lacson, who added that he had first-hand knowledge that Moreno and Pacquiao had also been approached by unidentified parties to withdraw from the race.
Lacson said he was not disturbed by the surveys. “Like what we have been saying all along, this is not what we are seeing in the rallies that we have been conducting, as well as the direct engagement with the people. We’ll stick to that,” he said.
Pacquiao and his running mate Lito Atienza also said they were not withdrawing from the race, after the Robredo camp had held talks with them to join forces against Marcos Jr.
This, despite Atienza continuing to face serious health issues that have prevented him from joining Pacquiao in most of their campaign rallies.
Atienza had even dared Lacson to join him in withdrawing from their respective races due to their supposed poor showing in various surveys.
Pacquiao told local media that their decision was “to continue to fight.”
The boxer-turned-senator also said, “This is for the country and not for ourselves. If we were only thinking of ourselves, we would have compromised but that would be hard.”
Among all the presidential candidates, it has been Pacquiao who has continuously attacked Marcos Jr.
He has referred to Filipinos who support the son and namesake of the late dictator as “fools.”
Pacquiao said he and Atienza were fighting for “real change.”