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Manila Standard : The team to beat?

News & Interviews
31 July 2021

By Charlie V. Manalo | Manila Standard

"Marcos-Duterte or Duterte-Marcos would be formidable."

Last Sunday, Philippine Star columnist Dick Pascual, in his column, floated the idea of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. teaming up with a Duterte—either President Rodrigo Duterte or his daughter, Sara —for the 2022 elections.

Without giving a detailed explanation, Pascual averred that if ever the two families link up, “it would be so overwhelming that only divine intervention could prevent its sweeping the 2022 national positions down to the senatorial level.”

Actually, I have been discussing this scenario in some political circles as early as last year when rumors of a possible Marcos-Duterte team up began circulating. I have stated then, and I am maintaining this, even in the midst of these political surveys showing Marcos placing a distant second to Inday Sara, that should the two decide to run as a team, they will be unbeatable. Either of the two can head the ticket.

My reason is simple: I think the vilification campaign against the Marcos family has already lost steam and in fact, slowly reversing itself.

For the longest time, the Marcoses have shied away from national electoral positions having been traumatized by the events of 1986. And no other family, not even the Arroyos, have been as vilified as much as this family. Even school textbooks have to be rewritten to portray not only their patriarch, the late Ferdinand Sr. but the whole family as well, as the worst family to have occupied Malacañang Palace. After returning from “exile,” they have to content themselves with locally elected positions as they believed then they could only count on their kababayans to support them.

But all these changed when Bongbong decided to run for a national position in 2010—a seat in the Senate.

With even his partymates campaigning against him, the Bayan Muna candidates who were adopted by the Nacionalista Party, Bongbong placed 7th, garnering a total votes of 13,169,364. Even NP’s standard bearer, Manny Villar could only get a third of Bongbong’s votes. And this could only mean one thing—the Marcos supporters are still very much around.

Still in doubt?

In 2016, despite the all-out campaign waged against him by the Aquino administration, and assuming he really was not cheated, Bongbong got 14,155,344 votes in the vice presidential race. In fact, Mr. Dick Pascual contends the Marcos have helped Duterte get elected in 2016. And this could actually hold water.

Duterte got a total of 16,601,997 votes. While Bongbong’s running mate then was the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago, she only got 1,455,532 votes, meaning the majority of those who voted for Marcos, did not go for her. So, who will these Marcos supporters vote for?

Definitely not the other candidates who are identified with the Yellows who they abhor to their bones, and vice versa. Mar Roxas is the official Yellow candidate, Senator Grace Poe is the Yellow’s reserved horse, having even been invited to ran as Roxas’ running mate. Even former Vice President Jojo Binay was identified with the Yellows having dilly-dallied on his decision to sever ties with the Aquino administration even after being heavily persecuted in a Senate investigation after having made known his position on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program. Add to it the fact Binay was a staunch anti-Marcos activist in the 80s.

So, who would these Marcos supporters vote for? The obvious choice would be Duterte. It would be even safe to assume that Duterte won not because he was popular that time. He won because of the overwhelming frustration and hatred of the people that time against the Aquino administration. And the Marcos supporters would willingly deliver their votes for the former Davao City mayor rather than suffer another six years of Yellow rule.

Never mind Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate got more than 5 million votes that time as he cannot deliver those votes to Duterte as he is also largely identified with the Yellows ever since. But granting for the sake of argument, Cayetano did deliver votes for Duterte, it would still mean more than half of Duterte’s voters were also from the Marcos camp.

The Marcos command vote was again validated in 2019 when Imee Marcos placed 8th in the senatorial elections, garnering a total of 15,882,628 votes.

The figures don’t lie. The number of Marcos supporters is around 13 million to a little less than 16 million. It would have been a different story if the figures would show an erratic rise or fluctuation. But no, after nine years, it seems to be slowly but consistently on the rise.
With such a formidable number to back him up, and adding up Duterte’s own supporters, the tandem of Bongbong and Duterte, be it the father or the daughter, would really be unbeatable.

But the major contention of course would be is this: Who will be the standard bearer?

The Duterte camp would surely bat for the equity of the incumbent as they are the ones in power. But to slide down to the position of vice president would be more acceptable as it would do away issues of morality and political dynasty. Anyway, she’s still young. She’s only 43 now. And if she decides to run for president in 2028, she would still be only 49.

Anyway, no one among the two has made known their preference for next year. Even after getting the commitment of the Solid North, Bongbong says they are still weighing their options. And the same I believe goes for Sara.

But in the event these two decide to team up, as Mr. Dick Pascual puts it, “barring any divine (or devious) intervention, a Marcos-Duterte tandem would be formidable.” Tapos na ang boksing.