Duterte camp shrugs off 'tactical alliance' of rivals
MANILA - The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday that he is unperturbed by reports that his presidential rivals are in talks to forge a "tactical alliance" against him.
Citing a reliable source, the Philippine Star reported Monday that Senator Grace Poe and Liberal Party (LP) bet Mar Roxas have agreed to open discussions for a concerted effort to stop Duterte's surge in poll ratings in the homestretch of the campaign.
The source also reportedly claimed that Poe and Roxas have not conceded defeat, but are only working together to expose Duterte as supposedly an unfit presidential candidate.
In a media statement, Leoncio Evasco Jr, national campaign manager of Duterte, said the tough-talking mayor is not affected by this report.
"Rody is not frazzled by this at all. We are not affected. This is something that we have been expecting because they are desperate with the unstoppable surge of Rody to the top of the race," Evasco said.
Evasco also expressed confidence that the supposed alliance and other black propaganda will not hurt Duterte's chances of becoming president.
"They can campaign together against Duterte and intensify their attacks, but in the end, we are confident as we are ready that Duterte will be the last man standing," Evasco said.
"This is because Duterte has the support of millions and millions of Filipinos who are sick and tired of the rotten government ruled by the oligarchs and run by the same politicians."
Evasco said they expect the attacks on the presidential race frontrunner will get more vicious in the last two weeks before the elections.
He added that their main concern is solidifying support for Duterte, and foiling possible cheating during the May 9 polls.
The latest Pulse Asia survey released Monday shows that he remains the top choice for president despite his controversial remark about an Australian rape-slay victim.
The Pulse Asia ''Pulso ng Bayan'' survey, conducted from April 16 to 20, shows 35 percent of respondents choosing the PDP-Laban standard-bearer.
Ranking second is Poe, who got 23 percent.
She is followed by Roxas and Vice President Jojo Binay, who are statistically tied for third with 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago followed with 2 percent.
The survey, with a margin of error of plus/minus 2.3%, was conducted at the height of the controversy involving Duterte's remark about Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill.
Duterte was heavily criticized after a saying that he should have been the first to rape Hamill instead of prison convicts. Hamill was one of several "prayer warriors" taken hostage by prisoner Federico Pugoy and other inmates inside Davao Metrodiscom in 1989. -- With a report from Ruby Tayag, radio dzMM
READ: Duterte survives rape remarks, stays on top - Pulse