MANILA, Philippines – Vice presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, in his grand rally on Thursday, May 5, urged his supporters to guard their votes on May 9.
"Magbantay po tayo dahil ang maaari lang [na dahilan] ng hindi pagkapanalo ng inyong abang lingkod sa Lunes ay sila ay mandadaya," he told a crowd of over a hundred during his miting de avance at Mandaluyong City. (We should guard our votes because the only way I will lose on Monday is if they cheat.)
He also decried the Aquino administration, in particular President Benigno Aquino III, for concentrating efforts and resources to derail his vice presidential bid.
"Ngayon lang tayo nakakita ng buong gobyerno – lahat ng kakayahan, lahat ng kwarta, lahat ng pwedeng gawin ay ginawa hindi sa kandidato bilang pangulo. Ginawa nilang pangkontra sa kandidato pagka-bise presidente," he said. (This is my first time to witness this - that all the money and resources available are used not against the presidential candidate but to derail the bid of a vice presidential bet.)
Marcos is the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who jailed Aquino's father and who was widely suspected to have been behind his assassination in 1983. Aquino has been openly campaigning against Marcos.
The Marcos family was forced to live in exile after the 1986 EDSA people power revolution that ousted Marcos. But its members have since regained political power, led by former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who is now representative of Ilocos Norte, Marcos Jr's sister Imee, who is now Ilocos Norte governor, and the senator himself.
The Marcos family came in full force in Thursday's miting de avance. Among those spotted at the rally were Marcos Jr's wife, Lisa Araneta-Marcos, and son Ferdinand Alexander; sister Irene Marcos and her husband Greggy Araneta; and Borgy Manotoc, son of Imee.
Marcos' miting de avance was hosted by Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr, whose family was a staunch Aquino ally during the anti-dictatorship years. Abalos' father and namesake was a local ally of Aquino's mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.
But the Abalos family is now backing Marcos.
Photo by Rob Reyes/ Rappler
The vice presidential candidate also accused the government of conditioning the minds of Filipino voters through the results of recent surveys that favored administration bets.
In the recent survey of ABS-CBN conducted by Pulse Asia, Marcos' closest rival Leni Robredo grabbed the top spot at 30%. The senator, on the other hand, only got 28%.
"Paano nangyari yun. Sabi ko, sa dalawang araw, nawalan ako ng anim na milyong boto" he claimed. (How did that happen? I said, in two days how come I lost 6 million votes?)
The former governor of Ilocos Norte added: "Ano naman kaya ang ginawa kong kasalanan na pati sa Ilocos, nabawasan yung boto ko." (What did I do wrong to lose votes even in Ilocos?)
Robredo earlier laughed off Marcos' statements, chiding Marcos for suddenly questioning surveys now that he's not ahead. (READ: Roxas, Robredo hit rivals: Why distrust election surveys now?)
The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey held from May 1 to 3 and published on Friday, May 6, showed Marcos and Robredo in a virtual tie. An analyst said the next vice president might win by a hairline.
Marcos' son, Ferdinand Alexander, said they're confident his father will win. (READ: CAMPAIGN NOTES: Staple jokes, loyalists, and the Marcos boys)
"We've been confident since day one. You can't do something like this without confidence... I have to say I'm nervous but we'll get there," he said before Thursday's grand rally started.
This is the first of Marcos' series of miting de avance.
On Friday, May 6, he will fly to Davao City to hold another grand rally. He will also go to Tacloban City and his standard-bearer Miriam Defensor Santiago's miting de avance on Saturday, May 7. – Rappler.com