2022 Philippine Elections

Marcos woos Duterte vote, gets backing of Cebu mayors

Lian Buan
Marcos woos Duterte vote, gets backing of Cebu mayors

NORTH AND SOUTH. Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos says his tandem with Mayor Sara Duterte brings together North and South.

Mayor Sara Duterte's Facebook Page

With President Duterte's calling him a 'weak leader' still fresh, Bongbong Marcos avoids talking about details of the drug war

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is bent on wooing the Duterte vote, saluting President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership at a speech before local officials in Cebu City.

Disregarding a rebuke by Duterte, calling Marcos a “weak leader and a spoiled child,” the son of deposed dictator said on Friday, November 26, that the president’s brand of leadership must be continued to beat the pandemic.

“Pagkatapos ng pagka-lider ng ating Pangulo, ang Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, ay kailangan pa rin na matibay ang leadership dahil nandito pa rin ang problema,” Marcos said on Friday during the regional meet of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), the president of which is his ally, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur mayor Chavit Singson.

(After the leadership of our president, President Rodrigo Duterte, we still need strong leadership because the problem is still here.)

Earlier, Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said that “We respect the president at hindi nagbabago ‘yung pag galang, respeto, at mataas na pagkilala at pagtingin sa kaniya ni Bongbong Marcos.”

(We respect the president and Bongbong Marcos’ respect and highest recogniton for him has not changed.)

This was after a series tirades from Duterte, from accusing Marcos of orchestrating that his daughter Sara run for vice president instead of president, to calling him a weak leader. In the same speech Duterte throws a blind item against a cocaine-using candidate.

Sara, who doesn’t shy away from public quarrels with his father, has not addressed Duterte’s remarks but has instead been hyping Marcos in her speeches, speaking highly of his running mate’s experience in government.

Hanas na siya sa decision-making (He’s used to decision-making),” said Sara of Marcos in an earlier event Friday in Misamis Occidental before following in Cebu at the LMP meet.

It is apparently addressed to the theme of his critics that he has little to show for his over 20 years in government.

A divisive figure because of his father’s dictatorial rule marked with human rights violations and corruption, Marcos has so far stuck to a message of unification and says he shuns “gutter politics.”

And there’s no better unification message than combining his North and Sara’s South.

“The North and the South have come together. Totoo nga naman ‘yun dahil kami ay galing sa Norte at si Inday Sara naman ay galing Mindanao. Talagang may ibig sabihin ang aming pagsasama dahil ipinagsasama namin ang buong Pilipinas,” said Marcos.

(That’s true because we’re from the North and Inday Sara is from Mindanao. Our alliance really is symblic because by coming together, we are unifying the country.)

Before she filed her candidacy for vice president, Sara – who was being pushed to run for president – topped the September Pulse Asia presidential preference survey in Mindanao voters (47%) and Visayas (23%).

Marcos won Northern Luzon in the 2016 elections, but he lost Cebu to Vice President Leni Robredo. It’s the second time that Marcos went to Cebu City with Sara.

Backing of 44 mayors

So far, the alliance with Sara has bore fruit.

On Friday night, Sara’s spokesperson, Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco, chair of LMP-Cebu, said 44 mayors have agreed to back Marcos.

“On behalf of all the 44 mayors of the province of Cebu, particular to the mayors of the 5th district, as well as my fellow mayors in the Visayas, for whom I am the national vice president, we hereby express our unequivocal support to you, for your candidacy and we will do everything in our power to ensure an unequivocal victory in the coming elections,” said Frasco.

The Marcos-Sara tandem has secured the support of Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former president and Manila mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Sara is running under Lakas-CMD, the party of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Senator Bong Go, Duterte’s chosen one and the standard-bearer of the ruling party, may be entertaining thoughts of withdrawing from the presidential race, according to politicians who attended a dinner with Go and the president.

While Duterte’s blind item against a cocaine-using presidential candidate has put Marcos in negative light because of the president’s clue that the candidate has a prominent father, it has also put the drug war in question.

In the middle of dares that presidential aspirants take a drug test, Marcos’ camp released a statement that he and Sara would win the drug war “through love.”

A reporter began to ask Marcos Friday about the drug war, but he cut the question and claimed he didn’t say that the drug war would be won through love.

Marcos then proceeded to keep his answer general about the drug war, which is a pressure point for the Duterte administration especially that it’s being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“I didn’t say that [that it would be won through love]. I said that with the campaign against drugs, the problems still persist and that’s why we have to continue to find solutions for it,” said Marcos.

“That’s too much of a promise to make…but you know, I think we will be able to do a lot of headway,” said Marcos who only stayed for a chance interview with reporters for two minutes.

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.