MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr has stepped up his attack against his top rival for the vice presidency on the same day another independent survey showed him neck-and-neck with administration candidate Leni Robredo.
Days before the May 9 elections, Marcos accused the ruling Liberal Party of plotting to wrest the presidency from Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, if elected and if Robredo wins as vice president.
The vice presidential candidate said on Friday, May 6, that he has been hearing reports about the LP's "Plan B" to ensure it stays in power in the next 6 years. A day earlier, he urged his voters to guard their votes, saying he would only lose if there is cheating on May 9.
"Pag naupo, i-impeach si Duterte na inumpisahan na (When Duterte assumes the presidency, he will be impeached)," the senator said in a rally in Bacoor City.
He was referring to the threat of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV of the Nacionalista Party that he would move to impeach Duterte if the latter becomes president. This is based on the mayor's alleged undeclared bank account at the Bank of Philippine Islands branch in Ortigas.
Trillanes had already filed a plunder complaint against Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman. He cited a 2015 Commission on Audit report that revealed the local city government allegedly employed 11,000 ghost employees with an annual budget allocation of P708 million.
At the rally, Marcos accused the LP of banking on Robredo's closer chance to victory and the corruption allegations against Duterte to ensure its continued political dominance in the country.
Asked about the credibility of his source, Marcos said he got the information from some "friends" from the LP.
"Kahit papaano may kaibigan pa rin naman tayo sa loob ng Liberal. At 'yun ang sinasabi at nagiging usapan (We still have friends inside LP. And that's the discussion [they] have been telling me)," he told reporters after the rally in Cavite.
Just like in his miting de avance on Thursday, Marcos continued to question the recent surge of Robredo in recent surveys, and claimed this was part of the administration's alleged mind-conditioning strategy.
Robredo's rise as top choice for vice president – statistically tied with Marcos – is reflected in 3 surveys conducted by independent pollsters: the ABS-CBN survey conducted by Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated, the Social Weather Stations survey, and The Standard poll conducted by Laylo Research Stategies.
Marcos said this alleged mind conditioning on Robredo's surge in the surveys is linked to the possible impeachment of Duterte.
"A case has been filed against him. We know that it won't be resolved between today and the elections," Marcos said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Marcos' standard-bearer, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, earlier speculated that Malacañang was behind Trillanes' probe into Duterte's alleged assets because he was able to track his bank accounts.
Those who listened to Marcos' speech in Cavite had differing opinions the possibility of rigged elections.
Fe Manondo, 70, told Rappler that it was possible. "Maari, nararamdaman ko rin (Maybe, I can also feel it)."
But for 41-year-old Ronald Martinez, cheating would be impossible in automated elections. "Parang wala ano naman yun eh paano mangyayari yun eh dinadaan naman yun sa computer (I think it won't happen because the elections now use computers)" he told Rappler.
On his second to the last day of campaigning, Marcos went to Bacoor City in the vote-rich province of Cavite. He was hosted by the Mayor Lani Revilla, wife of detained Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
Mayor Revilla expressed Lakas-CMD's full support for Marcos, though she had earlier endorsed Senator Grace Poe and his whole Puso at Galing slate.
Photo by Patty Pasion / Rappler
Incumbent Cavite governor Jonvic Remulla and brother, gubernatorial candidate Boying Remulla did not attend the rally. The Remulla family has also been openly supporting the Marcos family, a long-time ally of their political clan. (READ: Cavite’s top leaders back Bongbong Marcos)
Right after the program, Marcos headed to Tacloban City where he will have another miting de avance. Later in the evening, he will be in Davao City to attend a grand rally. – Rappler.com