Manila Standard : Marcos eyed Pacquiao as running mate, says sis Imee

27 October 2021

By Macon Ramos-Araneta and Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao was among those being eyed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as his running mate in the upcoming elections, but the boxing legend rejected the idea and vowed to continue his fight for the presidency.

In an interview over TeleRadyo, Sen. Imee Marcos related that her brother’s preference for Pacquiao is very obvious.

“We have the so-called ‘Solid North.’ We’re strong in the North. Bongbong is also strong in the National Capital Region in one way or another as well as Region 8. But we are a bit scared when it comes to Mindanao,” she said.

“So naturally we’re tending towards the Mindanao and VisMin candidates,” Imee added.

Meanwhile, a leader of a transport group backing Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said the former senator’s commanding performance in recent surveys is somehow a form of “poetic justice” being served by the electorate following his loss through alleged election fraud in the 2016 vice-presidential race.

“BBM’s performance in these recent surveys is in itself poetic justice. There are already signs that the 2022 elections will be a reckoning for some of the other candidates,” said Roberto ‘Ka Obet’ Martin, National President of the Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association (Pasang Masda).

“If indeed the 2016 vice-presidential race was closely contested, we should have seen that in the surveys by now. Where are the more than 14 million who allegedly voted for (Vice President Leni) Robredo?” he added.

Sen. Imee Marcos also said her brother likes the idea of somebody who would come from Mindanao.

“So, if Sen. Pacquiao will slide down, he’s from Mindanao, he’s also super popular and he’s also their friend, although there’s been slight attacks (from the Pacquiao camp) sometimes,” said Imee.

She emphasized they’re not onion-skinned. “We know it’s because of the elections, it’s OK,” she stated.

Marcos Jr. is a frontrunner in various pre-election surveys, with Pacquiao placing third or fourth in most of them.

Pacquiao and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza are running under the banner of Promdi.

Aside from ensuring votes in the South, Sen. Marcos said her brother is looking for a running mate he can get along with well.

“It’s not all about the votes. He needs someone he also considers a friend to a certain degree,” she added.

Pacquiao said while he was flattered that several camps are asking him to be their VP, he said it requires the presidency to fulfill his promises to the poor.

Spending several years in public service, both at the local and national levels, he saw firsthand the problems of our country and the wide gap between the rich and the poor.

“Our time is now to win for the poor. We are seeing that our grassroot support is growing everyday while moving around the country,” he said.

“Although I am touched and extremely honored, tuloy ang laban natin sa pagka-Pangulo. Para sa pagbabago at para sugpuin ang corruption na lumalala sa bansa. I will not fail the people,” vowed Pacquiao.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, national chairman of the Pacquiao wing in PDP-Laban, said the Bongbong-Manny tandem may just be part of psywar. He called it “negative psychology.”

He also stressed that being a vice president is not in the radar of Pacquiao. “And then MP already has a serious partner and running mate in the person of LA (Lito Atienza).”

Pimentel further noted that this “ticket” must be ideologically consistent too.

“MP and Marcoses are worlds apart in their analysis of what ails our country. That MP Express Train has left the station and will triumphantly arrive at its destination at the proper time,” pointed out Pimentel.

True to form, the recently published Presidential Preference Survey of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. showed Marcos dominating by garnering 49.3 percent of the votes.

Meanwhile, Leni Robredo only got 21.3 percent. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno got 8.8 percent followed by Ping Lacson with 2.9 percent and Manny Pacquiao with 2.8 percent.

The results also showed Marcos pulling away in key voting areas such as in the National Capital Region (NCR), where he got 40 percent of the votes, while in North and Central Luzon, he obtained 55.7 percent of the votes. In South Luzon, he registered 38.2 percent, while in the Visayas, he got 44.7 percent. Capping it with a whopping 62.5 percent voter preference in Mindanao.

“There is no way to explain this kind of performance other than that he has a mandate to fulfill from the people. The support that he got in 2016 is intact and still growing as the election nears. Bongbong has the full support and confidence of a large majority of the electorate,” Martin added.

Marcos is also posting spectacular results in the Kalye Surveys being conducted by YouTube vloggers all over the country.

While informal in nature and having a different methodology as those used by polling firms, the Kalye survey is seen as a ‘real man’ street survey that effectively captures the political pulse of working-class Filipinos.

Pasang Masda is one of the many transport groups that recently met with Marcos to formally back his candidacy.

Martin added that they agree with Marcos’s plans for the transport sector and they trust that he will implement them when he wins in the upcoming elections.

“So we endorsed his good intentions and we hope that what we had discussed will be implemented when he wins in 2022. We are happy and grateful for his good intentions not only in transportation but in our country,” Martin said in Filipino.