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Aquino woos Duterte supporters in Bicol

The army of loyalists of presidential candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte should think twice about supporting a candidate who might turn into a dictator, President Aquino said yesterday.

In his campaign stop in Bicol, the President tried to convince the Duterte supporters to switch to a much qualified candidate, Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel A. Roxas II, by harping on the Davao City Mayor’s uncouth and abusive behavior.

“To those supporting this candidate, I hope they will ponder on their decision. They apparently think their candidate will always make the perfect decisions,” Aquino said in Filipino during the LP campaign rally in Ligao City, Albay.

“Just a reminder, we are people. Nobody was created perfect. If you are not perfect, how can you make perfect decisions always, right?” Aquino added.

The President took his anti-Duterte campaign to Albay and Camarines Sur, warning anew about the possible return of dictatorship if the trash-talking Davao City mayor is elected in office.

Aquino said Duterte has already been acting like a dictator following his threats to abolish Congress and establish a revolutionary government that might rewrite the 1987 Constitution.

“The country is in danger of returning to the Martial Law style in which only one person is popular, excellent, and always right,” he said.

The President also could not hide his dismay over the latest surveys showing Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as preferred presidential and vice presidential candidates.

He said it was hard to accept that these two opposition candidates are leading the surveys even as the country marks the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution that ousted the Marcos dictatorship.

While Duterte has a dictatorial tendency, the son and namesake of the late President Ferdinand Marcos has refused to apologize, much less recognize, the Martial Law abuses in the past, Aquino lamented.

“They are espousing a platform that is opposite of the straight path. If we support the opposite system, of course the results will also be the opposite. And that will be worrisome,” Aquino said.

“It has been 30 years after EDSA and now there is a danger of another dictator rising to the presidency. We might endure the same suffering,” he added.

Puzzled by the survey results, Aquino said he was wondering if some people are angry with the achievements of Daang Matuwid, from strong economic growth to improved social services benefiting millions of Filipinos.

Aquino lamented that some people have gone astray into supporting the controversial rival candidate without fully understanding the consequences of a possible Duterte presidency.