By Virgil Lopez | GMA News Online
Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. made his final pitch to voters on Thursday after three months of bruising election campaign, which saw him dealing with criticisms over human rights abuses and corruption committed during his father's Martial Law regime.
Marcos, the only son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, renewed his call for unity and progress before a sizeable crowd who gathered in front of Shaw Central Mall in Mandaluyong City for his miting de avance.
The event was hosted by Marcos supporter and Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos.
Present at the campaign rally were members of the Marcos family led by former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, as well as former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos.
In his speech, Marcos cited his 27 years of government experience as proof that he is ready to become vice president.
He also asked voters to take active measures to protect their votes following the testimonies of overseas absentee voters who allegedly experienced discrepancies on their votes and the receipts.
"Huwag tayong papayag na nanakawin ang inyong mga boto, na ililihis ang pagnanais ng mga Pilipino ng pagbabago," Marcos said.
Marcos is neck and neck with Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, a candidate of the administration Liberal Party, in the latest vice-presidential preference surveys.
In the campaign trail, Marcos dealt with criticisms as he refused to apologize in behalf of his father and his family.
Instead of engaging in personal attacks, the senator stuck to his campaign platform of national unity and progress.
"Walang magmamahal sa Pilipino kundi Pilipino rin. Ang pagkahiwahiwalay, wala pong maitutulong iyan," he said.
Marcos previously said he could work with any of the presidential candidates and will give his all-out support to the next administration.
If elected, the senator said he would want to be assigned at the Department of Labor and Employment as he aims to end the practice of contractualization, a belief shared by all Palace contenders.