INDEPENDENT vice presidential candidate Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero appears to have run out of patience over the many reported underhanded maneuverings of the Liberal Party (LP) and the Aquino administration to influence the result of Monday’s national elections, warning the public that only Malacañang is in the position and has the “capacity” to cheat in the polls.
“Ang may kakayahan lang mandaya, administrasyon. Walang iba (Only the Administration has the capacity to cheat. No one else),” Escudero flatly told the media during last Wednesday’s Kapihan sa Senado news forum.
Escudero, the running mate of Sen. Grace Poe, stressed that the threat of cheating was always there and that voters, not just candidates, had to be vigilant to guard against electoral irregularities.
The senator from Bicol added that the release of surveys from questionable groups fueled fears that these were being used to condition the minds of the public to accept results favoring the candidates of the administration.
“Yun ang nakakatakot at nakakapangamba minsan sa mga survey na naglalabasan mula sa kung anu-anong grupo na kaliwa’t kanan.
“Baka nagma-mind conditioning lamang sila kaugnay sa gusto nilang maging resulta sa halalan,” explained the veteran lawmaker.
Escudero had earlier bared that many of their supporters in the ranks of the LP remains hesitant to come out openly to support his and Poe’s candidacy with the election barely 3 days away for fear of reprisal from their erstwhile partymates.
Escudero, however, expressed confidence that the people would vote for the candidates based on their personal preferences, not what surveys say.
“I have full confidence in our people. Even in cockfights, there are those who bet on the favorites and those who bet on the underdogs. People will vote for candidates they really like, not for candidates who may be favored by the odds at any point during the campaign.”
Already a “veteran” of five elections who also served as the spokesperson in the 2004 presidential race to the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), the father of Poe, Escudero also pointed out that in past elections, the surveys had failed to predict the exact results, and that it was possible for voters to shift their votes at the last minute.
“Remember that in 2010, Secretary Roxas had a double-digit lead in the vice presidential race.
“Sen. Villar also had a double-digit lead over President Estrada, but the results suddenly swung and changed.
“I am not saying that is what will happen now; every election is unique and different. All I am saying is that it happened before and it’s possible it could happen again,” Escudero added.