Legarda stands by claim Roxas offered her a deal
By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Vice-presidential candidate Loren Legarda is standing by her claim that her closest rival, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, had approached her with a deal to make her withdraw from the race.
Roxas has denied Legarda’s allegation, saying she was “pulling all stunts” to protect her Nacionalista Party presidential running mate, Sen. Manuel Villar.
Legarda Thursday reiterated the claim she made in a radio interview last Wednesday that Roxas had approached her in February with a proposal that her political advisers have since interpreted as an “exchange deal” offer for her to withdraw her candidacy.
Roxas, the vice-presidential running mate of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III, leads Legarda by 17 points in the latest voter preference surveys.
Last Wednesday, Legarda revealed in an interview on dzBB radio Roxas’ supposed attempt to bribe her last February.
According to Legarda, as she passed by Roxas’ desk in the Senate session hall, Roxas told her: “If there’s any way that you can support my principal (Aquino) and me, if there’s anything you want, we can provide.”
At the time, when she had yet to find a presidential running mate, she said she did not know what Roxas meant exactly.
In a press conference in Surigao City Thursday, Roxas again denied making an offer for Legarda to withdraw.
He said: “I asked her if she could support the Noy-Mar ticket because I could not believe that she was serious in supporting Villar whom he described as corrupt, lacking in leadership qualities, always absent and always prioritizing his business interests over the country. When she did not reply, that was the end of it.”
In the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from Feb. 24 to 28, Roxas obtained 34 percent against Legarda’s 28 percent.
Legarda claimed that compared to Roxas, her ratings have been steadily improving, noting that Roxas’ acceptability to the voters had gone down by four percentage points since the last SWS survey in January.
She said the SWS survey was validated by the Manila Standard Today survey, conducted from Feb. 20 to 26, in which she got 30 percent against Roxas’ 39 percent, with the latter leading by only 9 points.
Although still leading Legarda, this was a major decline for Roxas because in a Pulse Asia survey conducted from Feb. 21 to 25, Roxas had a huge lead over Legarda of 16 points, with 43 percent for him compared to Legarda’s 27 percent.
Legarda said she was ahead of Roxas in the Class E socioeconomic class, “because I am one of them. I and Senator Villar came from the ranks of the poor, so we fully understand the plight of the poor.”