2022 Philippine Elections

Gatchalians, Remulla endorse Marcos, the one to beat and the ‘common enemy’

Lian Buan

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Gatchalians, Remulla endorse Marcos, the one to beat and the ‘common enemy’

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte attend the grand rally in Valenzuela City on February 10, 2022. Rappler Photo

Rappler Screenshot

2ND UPDATE. Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian says bashers on social media should just be 'hidden or muted'
Gatchalians, Remulla endorse Marcos, the one to beat and the ‘common enemy’

MANILA, Philippines – The Gatchalians of the 443,0000 voter-strong Valenzuela City and Governor Jonvic Remulla of 2nd most vote rich Cavite have endorsed presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, clearly the one to beat three months before the elections with recent survey ratings breaching 50%.

“Categorically, we are together, I am campaigning for him,” Remulla said as Marcos visited Cavite on Friday, February 11. Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian proclaimed Marcos as president and Sara Duterte as vice president in the grand rally in Valenzuela on Thursday, February 10.

Marcos is the “common enemy,” Isko Moreno’s campaign manager Lito Banayo told ANC’s Headstart.

“We are not targeting the voters of Vice President Leni Robredo. We have a common enemy, whether it is Vice President Leni or us, and the common enemy is the frontrunner, Ferdinand Jr,” Banayo told ANC.

Neither Marcos’ spokesperson Vic Rodriguez nor his national campaign manager Benhur Abalos traded a barb, sticking to a disciplined branding that their candidate is a unifier who is not out make enemies.

“Yung mensaheng binibigay niya, kaya kami ay tuloy tuloy lang, yung mensaheng mapaabot sa buong bansa,” said Abalos on the sidelines of the Valenzuela grand rally on Thursday, February 10.

(The message he is sending, we’ll just continue that, to send the message to the entire country.)

Banayo noted Marcos, the son of dictator whose rule was marked by human rights abuses and corruption, is the most divisive figure. Banayo said while the strategy of shunning critical media, and avoiding as much interviews as possible, is working for now, it may have a negative impact down the road on voters who don’t like candidates who do not face their opponents.

Rodriguez has also earlier said that Marcos will not likely join debates and fora if the format is to pit candidates against each other.

“Titignan namin, kung ang direksyon lamang ay pag-away-awayin ang kandidato, I tell you now, hindi kami sasali dahil nirerespeto namin ang sentimiyento ng sambayanang Pilipino,” Rodriguez earlier told ANC.

(We’ll see, but if the direction is make candidates fight each other, I tell you now, we will not join because we respect the sentiments of the Filipino people.)

Ernest Ramel, chairman of Moreno’s Aksyon Demokratiko, said: “His spokesperson may just run out of excuses for him not to attend any of the presidental debates and fora.”

Gatchalians, Remulla endorse Marcos, the one to beat and the ‘common enemy’
Sara Duterte and PDP-Laban

Ironically for the Uniteam, its vice presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte continues to endorse seven senatorial bets who aren’t in the official slate, which is still missing a 12th person. Duterte calls them her “friends” – Robin Padilla, Jejomar Binay, Chiz Escudero, Guillermo Eleazar, Salvador Panelo, JV Ejercito, and Joel Villanueva.

“Sinabi niya naman they are just her friends, ‘yun naman ang klaro, ‘yun ang importante. As for the 12th, pinag-uusapan pa kung sino,” said Abalos.

(She said they are just her friends, that’s clear, that’s important. As for the 12th, we are still talking about who it will be.)

Abalos remains to be a member of PDP-Laban – the ruling party in disarray. They have no standard bearer, and its leader President Rodrigo Duterte has not endorsed a presidential candidate yet.

PDP-Laban’s senatorial bet John Castriciones even attended Moreno’s proclamation rally. Party member Joey Salceda, the influential Bicolano politician, is endorsing a Leni-Sara tandem.

“Marami rin namang PDP-Laban na nandirito kay BBM, ganun naman ang nangyayari, in the same manner na meron din sa iba,” said Abalos.

(There are many PDP-Laban members who are with BBM, it really happens, in the same manner that some have joined others.)

Castriciones was among the founders of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), which seems to have undergone a takeover so the new leaders can adopt and carry the candidacy of Marcos, at least according to the petition filed by its former officials to disqualify Marcos.

Gatchalians, Remulla endorse Marcos, the one to beat and the ‘common enemy’
‘Hide and mute’ the bashers

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said he expects social media bashing for his decision to endorse Marcos and Duterte.

“You know who my new best friends are? Mute and hide. Do not unfriend, and do not unfollow, just hide so you don’t have to answer them. After the elections, embrace them back,” said Rex Gatchalian in Filipino.

Defending his decision, Rex Gatchalian said: “Higit sa lahat, ang umakit sa akin na sumama sa grupo na ito, ‘yung mensahe ng pagkakaisa.” (Most of all, what attracted me to this team is the message of unity.)

In Cavite, Remulla said Marcos “is the most coherent, objective, and committed candidate we have.”

Compared to the other tandems, Marcos has not comprehensively discussed a platform, only mentioning in passing plans to boost agriculture, tourism and small businesses. Marcos and his allies boast of his experience as governor, congressman and senator, but Ilocos Norte residents say he was an ‘absentee’ leader.

“We see that eventually people will understand that what they need is ‘Tunay na Solusyon, Mabilis na Aksyon’ (Real solution, quick action) amid these very difficult times. Not more of promises of unity when he actually represents discord, promises without any real “pruweba” (proof) and motherhood statements,” said Ramel.

Ganito lang kasimple yan, we have a package, nakita niyo ang aming produkto, nakita niyo magsalita, nakita niyo reaksyon ng tao, and it comes from the heart,” said Abalos.

(It’s very simple, we have a package, you see our product, you see how he speaks, you see the peoples’ reactions, and it comes from the heart.)

Gatchalians, Remulla endorse Marcos, the one to beat and the ‘common enemy’

– Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.