By ALFRED GABOT, Editor in Chief
MANILA – With only a few days before the May 9 election, Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo has gained some grounds on frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr. judging from big rallies for her ticket in Bulacan, Cebu, Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City on her birthday and other areas and the influx of new endorsers.
Marcos, known as BBM or Bongbong in the campaign trail, however, solidified his wide lead in the surveys over her rivals just like her runningmate, Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, who are both drawing supporters from wide sectors.
The BBM-Sara Unity Team has also been drawing record attendance in their rallies, the latest being in Cagayan de Oro City, Manila, Taguig City and Bulacan.
At press time, Marcos said in a television interview that he will be a “unifying leader” once elected. “I will work with every iota of my being to be a unifying leader,” he added as he vowed to lead the country to new scale of growth and development that will benefit the people.
Meantime, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson refuse to give up their fight, saying it will be the people who will decide, not the surveys.
Domagoso said he will fight to the end as he continued unflinching determination in what he said as his pursuit of giving the ordinary people the government that they truly deserve.
“The elections are not over until all the votes, especially those from the silent majority, have been counted,” the 47-year-old presidential candidate said while campaigning in Kalibo, Aklan.
As this developed, Domagoso was charged with graft together with Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and several Manila officials in connection with the allegedly questionable sale of the Divisoria market property of the city government.
“Gagapang tayo talaga, kasi I really wanted to reach as many people as possible as our commitment. Dire-diretso lang sa tao,” Moreno said in Aklan.
The fighting stance was adopted by world boxing icon Pacquiao as he called for a “revolution” by the millions of poor Filipinos who constitute the biggest block of voters for the May 9 elections.
Robredo, supported by runningmate Sen. Francis Pangilinan, said a momentum in their favour has been ignited hoping to spring a surprise victory in the race on May 9.
Based on the Laylo Research surveys held from April 14 to 20, Marcos got the vote of 64 percent of the respondents, gaining 3 percentage points from his March performance of 61 percent, putting him 43 percentage points ahead of VP Robredo who scored 21 percent.
In the survey, Marcos also continued to dominate all the major voting areas with 62 percent voter preference in the National Capital Region, 80 percent in North Central Luzon, 46 percent in South Luzon and Bicol, 57 percent in the Visayas, and 75 percent in Mindanao.
“The Laylo survey results reinforced the observations made by political pundits that Marcos’ numbers are continuing to firm up as elections near,” the Marcos camp said.
In another survey by PUBLiCUS Asia, Marcos’ firm voters rose by 10 percent, from 70 percent in February to 80 percent this April.
David Yap, PUBLiCUS Asia’s chief data scientist, said the increase in vote firmness means that voters become more committed to their chosen candidate.
Zubiri has been quoted as introducing former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., as “our president.”