Mar on presidency: Fight between me and Duterte

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Administration bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas II said on Wednesday (May 4) that the race to Malacañan had now been trimmed down to two contenders: him and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Roxas, boosted by a latest Pulse Asia survey showing him in the second spot, made the fearless forecast during a press conference at the Liberal Party headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City.

"Nakikita ko na kaming dalawa na lang ni Mayor Duterte ang maglalaban dito," Roxas said as he noted how the Mar-Leni tandem initially repeatedly lagged behind pre-election surveys.

[Translation: "As I see it, Mayor Duterte and I are the only ones left in the fight for the presidency."]

He attributed the improvement in his ranking to his performance in the last presidential debate — and to Duterte himself.

After a controversial rape remark, Duterte was also facing a multi-million peso bank account issue — courtesy of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV — when the survey was taken.

"Kasing-dumi pala ng bibig nya (Duterte) yung kanyang mga kamay. Hindi naipaliwanag yung daan-daang milyong halagang pera na nasa kanyang secret bank accounts," Roxas said.

[Translation: "As it turns out, his mouth is as dirty as his hands. He cannot explain the hundreds of millions in his secret bank accounts.]

Related: BPI on Duterte-Trillanes row: We had nothing to do with it

The Davao City mayor had admitted to owning bank accounts at the BPI Julia Vargas branch in Pasig City, but said the amounts did not reach hundreds of millions.

Related: Vote 2016: The good, the bad and the angry

Meanwhile, the Palace welcomed the recent survey results.

"We are delighted at the numbers of both Mar and Leni at both their surges," spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda added that the next few days would be an opportunity for the Mar-Leni tandem to present to the people platforms that would "press further progress and address ongoing concerns of our people."

CNN Philippines' Camille Abadicio contributed to this report.