By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin
Aspiring president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the so-called “Tiger of the North”, entered his main rival, Vice President Leni Robredo’s den over the weekend in a bid to change the voting preference of Bicolanos.
Marcos Jr.’s Bicol swing started in Sorsogon on Friday morning, March 4, where he was welcomed by Governor Chiz Escudero.
Escudero, rival of Marcos Jr. in the 2016 vice presidential race, offered a venue for the survey frontrunner on the grounds of the provincial hall to woo the residents.
In a media release on Saturday, March 5, the Marcos camp took pride in his lead over Robredo in “Kalye Surveys” conducted in the Bicol region. But this wasn’t reflected on the ground, as Marcos Jr. apparently gathered fewer people than what he would usually get in his other campaign rallies.
“Matagal ko nang idineklara ang probinsya na bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumindato dahil bilang ama ng probinsya gusto ko makita, makilala, makadaupang ng aming mga kababayan ang mga tumatakbo para mas makapili sila na may batayan silang personal (I have long declared that my province is open for those who want to campaign, because as the father of the province, I want my constituents to get to know the candidates so they can have a choice on their own),” Escudero said in allowing Marcos Jr. to campaign in the province.
Prior to this, Escudero said in an interview that if Marcos Jr. would maintain his survey lead next month, there is a “big chance” that he will win in the upcoming May elections.
“Pero survey pa rin yan, pwedeng magbago hanggang sa araw ng eleksyon dahil ang binibilang ang boto sa araw ng eleksyon (But it will still depend on the surveys. It can change on the day of the elections. And what is counted are the votes of the people),” he added.
Marcos Jr. only ranked third in the province during the 2016 vice presidential race. Escudero won in his home turf and was followed by Robredo.
In the Sorsogon rally, Marcos Jr. vowed to strengthen the province’s tourism—a promise that sounded new for Marcos Jr. as he would usually just repeat his calls for “unity”.
On Saturday morning, March 5, Marcos landed on Bicol region’s southernmost province, Masbate. There, he enjoyed the support of Governor Antonio Kho, who endorsed him for the presidency.
Among those who also welcomed the former senator were members of Ina Poon Bato, who raised tarpaulins showing the presidential aspirant’s mother, Imelda Marcos’s association with the congregation.
In the 2016 vice presidential race, Marcos Jr. also lost in Masbate to Robredo by some 110,000 votes.