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Roxas intensifies tirades, tags Duterte's views as 'narrow and limited'

Administration bet Mar Roxas says his rival, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, "represent the biggest danger to our country." Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV/, File photo
ALUBIJID, Misamis Oriental – Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II on Wednesday intensified his tirades against survey frontrunner Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, this time targeting his rival’s stance on the South China Sea row and foul language.
 
Roxas, who earlier vowed to avoid name-calling and to launch an issue-based campaign, also labeled Duterte as ampaw or rice puff, a Filipino idiom referring to someone who lacks substance.ampaw or rice puff, a Filipino idiom referring to someone who lacks substance.
 
“Do not fool us Duterte. Do not deceive us. Puros ampaw ang sinasabi mo (You are just giving us empty words),” the LP standard bearer said in a press conference here.
 
“Matapang ka lang sa salita. (You are just brave in words). You failed to do it in your own city and yet you are promising to accomplish it in three to six months. Ampaw ka,” he added.
 
Roxas was reacting anew to Duterte’s claim that he can end criminality in the Philippines in three to six months. The promise, which seemed to have helped the mayor attract a following, has been disputed by Roxas, who claimed that Davao City is one of the areas with the highest number of murder, homicide, and rape incidents.

Foreign policy

Roxas’s verbal attacks on Wednesday also aimed at the tough-talking mayor’s stance on China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea and his use of bad words.
 
Roxas said Duterte’s statement that he would challenge the Chinese to a fist fight or a gun battle was “kagaguhan (stupidity).”
 
“Is that the type of leadership he will bring to the country? Is fist fight or gun battle your response to all the problems of our country and our countrymen?” the LP standard bearer said.
 
“Being a commander-in-chief is a tough responsibility. You don’t put your troops in danger because of your tough words or to avoid losing your face. Lives are at stake here. Our country is at stake here,” he added.
 
Roxas, who backs the country's move to file a case against China before an international tribunal, said posing a challenge to China would not address the territorial dispute. 

Tough talk 

With regard to Duterte’s foul language and sexist comments, Roxas claimed the mayor does not recognize views that go against his “narrow and limited” perspective.
 
“You continue to disrespect different sectors of our society including women, (members of) LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals) and your opponents. You do not have respect for anyone,” he said.
 
Duterte previously admitted to being a womanizer with two wives and two girlfriends. He was also photographed with female supporters siting on his lap. Duterte, however, has denied treating women as mere sex objects, saying he was just being honest to the public.
 
Roxas also criticized Duterte’s use of the word “bakla” (gay) to describe him and the Aquino administration.
 
“You (Duterte) represent the biggest danger to our country. You will bring us to uncertainty,” he added.
 
Interestingly, Roxas appeared to have used a gender stereotype in denouncing Duterte’s supposed sexist attitude.
 
“Ang tunay na lalaki, hindi maingay. Ang tunay na lalaki, hindi tawag-pansin. Ang tunay na lalaki, may respeto. Ang tunay na lalaki, kilala ang kanyang limitasyon. (A true man is not noisy. A true man does not seek attention. A true man is respectful. A true man knows his limits),” he said.

A campaign strategy?

Roxas denied that he is targeting Duterte, whose survey numbers have risen despite his unconventional way of packaging himself.
 
“This is not focused on anyone. Any leader who makes good on such statements is dangerous to the country,” he said.  
 
Duterte topped the latest surveys on presidential bets conducted by pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) early this month.
 
 
Duterte got 30 percent in the Pulse Asia poll followed by Sen. Grace Poe with 25 percent and Vice President Jejomar Binay with 20 percent. Jejomar Binay with 20 percent. Roxas landed on fourth place with 19 percent while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago ranked fifth with 2 percent. The nationwide survey was conducted from March 29 to April 3.Defensor-Santiago ranked fifth with 2 percent. The nationwide survey was conducted from March 29 to April 3.
 
Duterte was also the frontrunner in the SWS survey with 27 percent, edging Poe’s 23 percent, Binay’s 29 percent, Roxas’ 18 percent and Santiago’s 3 percent. The data for the SWS nationwide poll were gathered from March 30 to April 2.
 
The results leave only Roxas and Santiago as the only presidential bets who have not topped pre-election surveys.
 
While he is languishing at fourth place in pre-election polls, Roxas remains confident of his chances.
 
“I believe that in the end, we will prevail,” he said.
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