By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor
MANILA – The claim of the camp of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. that their bet is way ahead in the surveys is belied by their resorting to extreme black propaganda, usually resorted to by losing candidates.
By her own words, Vice President Leni Robredo –considered to be one of the two presidential contenders who have a shot at winning the presidency – said that the attacks against her had gotten more vicious in the last couple of weeks.
Robredo said her critics were “wasting their time” in thinking their personal attacks against her would have any effect.
She said she was “already battle-scarred” after six years “of heavy bashing and trolling.”
She said her critics, including fellow presidential bets Marcos, Isko Moreno, and Ping Lacson, were barking up the wrong tree. Lacson warned that the Robredo camp had been infiltrated by communists, while Moreno scored the vice president’s referring to the poor as “those in the fringes of society.”
The attacks and insults on her person only served to inflame Robredo’s supporters, who promised to gather at least 100,000 for her rally in Pasig this weekend.
It cannot be denied that the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem’s campaign had been gathering more and more followers compared to Marcos Jr., who had cancelled at least six sorties in recent weeks.
Just how poorly attendance at the Marcos Jr rallies was inviting was proven over the weekend when senate bet Mark Villar claimed that 500,000 people attended their event at his family’s home turf of Las Pinas.
This was disproven by the chief of police of the city, who said that only 5,000 were present at the venue, with another 3,000 more gathered outside.
Speaking in the vernacular, Las Pinas police chief Col. Jaime Santos said, “Anyone of sound mind knows that the 500,000 figure is a figment of the imagination. There is no truth to it.”
The 5,000 figure is only one percent of the claimed attendance.
Meanwhile, Robredo’s momentum continued to move forward at a frantic pace, with bigger and bigger crowds coupled with surprise endorsements from allies of President Rodrigo Duterte giving the vice president’s supporters reason to believe that there will be a repeat of the bitterly fought race between Robredo and Marcos Jr. in 2016.
Governor Ben Evardone, who also serves as vice president of President Duterte’s PDP-Laban party, endorsed Robredo after he said he did so with the approval of Mr. Duterte.
Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando also endorsed Robredo this week. This, after the Marcos camp had stated that they were expecting Fernando to endorse their bet soon.
Another Dutere ally, Northern Samar Gov. Edwin Ongchuan, likewise gave his support to the vice president, as did former Sarangani governor Migs Dominguez, nephew of Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez.
Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, yet another Duterte ally, earlier endorsed Robredo.
Meanwhile, Nueva Ejica Gov. Aurelio Umali welcomed Marcos Jr. in his second sortie to the province, but still did not endorse nor raise the hand of the presidential bet. He also left while Marcos Jr. was delivering his usual campaign speech. It was an awkward moment as the event was held in the Umali family compound.
The latest to endorse the VP’s bid to succeed Mr. Duterte was Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Filipino Muslims AKA Moros have reason to reject Marcos Jr. due to the atrocities committed against them during the martial law era.
The camp of Marcos Jr. appeared so disheartened by the massive crowds that had been greeting Robredo that they asked the Commission on Elections to issue a rule limiting the number of participants at rallies to 3,000.
This was rejected by the poll body, as the proposal was considered an infringement of the freedom of assembly.