Sotto not after unity, still banking on 'thinking' voters

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 25) — Vice presidential bet Tito Sotto is not open to the idea of uniting with other candidates to defeat the leading rival, but he acknowledges that there are soft voters who still need convincing in the last stretch of the campaign.

The Senate President told CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday that he never saw the need to unite with other candidates since he was already all out since he declared his candidacy last year. He also said that no one dared to ask him to withdraw from the vice presidential race.

"Walang lumalapit sa akin na ako ay magwithdraw. May mga lumalapit sa akin, sinasabi na sumuporta ako sa kanila," Sotto said.

[Translation: No one approached me to ask me to withdraw. There were some who asked me to declare my support for them.]

"Unity ng mga kandidato? I have not looked at it that way. Hindi ako tumakbo para talunin ang kahit sino. As early as July, August we were ready. We were ready to offer ourselves to the people," Sotto said, referring to the time when he and running mate Sen. Ping Lacson declared that they will join the race to the top posts.

[Translation: Unity of candidates? I have not looked at it that way. I did not run just to defeat someone.]

Sotto added that he and Lacson are targeting the so-called silent majority, the "thinking" voters and the soft voters, whom he said make up about 45 to 50% of the voting population.

“Some of them would probably have a tendency to vote for a certain candidate as of now (but) in a matter of two or three days, because of the internet, because of technology, in a matter of two or three days, pwedeng magkapalit-palit ng isip ang mga kababayan natin (they can change their minds),” he added.

He also said that many voters from the "silent majority" have not yet publicly declared who they will vote for, but he trusts that the people from this group are discerning.

"Ang tingin namin ang silent majority, nag-iisip ng mabuti. Syempre ang pipiliin nila kung ano ang ikabubuti nila in the next six years. Pag nag-upo sila ng medyo hindi maganda ang record sa pagnanakaw, six years na nakawan ‘yan," he said. "Pag ikaw ay naglagay sa loob ng anim na taon ng sinungaling, anim na taon na sinungaling ang nakaupo sa’yo."

[Translation: We believe that the silent majority think this through. Of course, the ones they will choose will be the ones who will be good for them for the next six years. If they elect someone who has a bad record of stealing, that's going to be six years of stealing. If you elect someone who is a liar, that person will definitely lie to you for the next six years.]

"Until the last moment may tendency ang mga kababayan natin na mag-isip ng tamang iboboto (there's a tendency that the people will discern who they will vote)," he added.

He also dismissed the survey results as snapshots of the current voting preference of the people.

Sotto recorded a 20% voter preference rating in the March Pulse Asia survey, a far second to vice presidential bet Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who scored 56%.

Lacson, on the other hand, is lagging behind his rivals with a 2% score, compared to higher percentage points obtained by Sen. Manny Pacquiao (6%), Manila Mayor Isko Moreno (8%), Vice President Leni Robredo (24%), and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (56%).

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