MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of the country's tightly contested elections, President Benigno Aquino III called on Filipinos to ensure peaceful polls and to accept the outcome, whatever it may be.
"Let us show the whole world that regardless of our deep emotions and conviction regarding our candidate, we can hold elections that are peaceful, orderly, and truly mirror the spirit of democracy," Aquino said in Filipino.
"Let me stress: In a democracy, everyone can decide. In the end, after the elections, hopefully the bickering will end. Let us respect and understand any decision borne out of the collective voice of the majority."
Aquino himself revealed on Friday, May 6, that he asked his anointed bet, Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, as well as Senator Grace Poe, to forge an alliance against Duterte.
The tough-talking mayor, known for his iron-fist approach to criminality and penchant for cursing, has been likened to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Duterte's camp also called the proposed alliance "the ultimate insult to the Filipino people," while the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay dismissed it as well. Binay's spokesperson pointed out that Aquino has been criticizing Roxas' rivals during the campaign period.
"God willing, at this point, you have already reflected deeply on your decision. It's my honor to be part of the peaceful transition of power under our democratic processes," said the President in his statement.
"After you cast your vote, go home quietly. In monitoring election results, make sure that your source of information is credible. Don't believe speculation or wrong reports," he added.
The run-up to the 2016 elections has been a particularly intense period for Filipinos, especially those active on social media.