Roxas urges 'fight for decency' in 2016 polls


Administration presidential candidate Manuel Roxas said the May 9 elections would be a "fight for decency" as much as it is a fight for continuity of reforms that turned around the laggard Philippine economy.

Roxas' tirade was an apparent swipe at his brash rival, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has vowed a ruthless anti-crime campaign and is leading in the most recent opinion poll.

"This is the fight for decency, honesty, and our future," Roxas said in his closing statement at the "Pilipinas 2016: The Presidential Townhall Debates."

"Patunayan natin sa buong Pilipinas at sa buong mundo, mas marami pa rin tayong mas disenteng Pilipino," he said.

READ: Duterte's final word: Stop and obey the law

Roxas and Duterte got into a heated exchange after the mayor questioned the former interior minister's claim claim that state health insurance fund PhilHealth was not helping people in Davao.

READ: Duterte scorns Roxas: '...bakit huli ka sa ratings?' 

Roxas trailed Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay in the April 12 to 17 survey by Pulse Asia and ABS-CBN.

While the two month campaign has been "divisive" hurt many people, Roxas said this was "not who we are as a people."

"We are generous, warm, and loving," he said.

"Ang iba, gagamitin ang ating frustration para lokohin tayo, para makalimutan natin na malayo na ang narating natin...Para makalimutan natin ang tunay at makabuluhang pagbabago ay hindi nakakamit sa paninisi, sa pag-iinsulto, o sa pang-soundbite lamang. Nangyayari ito, dahil tinatrabaho," he said.