By Jerry Tundag | The Freeman
If the estimated 300,000 crowd that attended the UniTeam rally in Cebu last Monday is any indication, then Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte may no longer need to even win by any margin in Cebu. The consistently survey-leading tandem can rest easy that the vote-rich province, traditionally anti-Marcos, will deliver a jolting, hefty surprise on election day that will slap their rivals silly.
Of course it will make things a lot easier if BBM-Sara actually take Cebu, which is the goal of reelectionist Governor Gwen Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and the dozens of city and municipal mayors who have rallied behind the red and green march to Malacañang. And judging by their efforts, and the response of unqualified support by Cebuanos, delivering a 1.2 million margin is actually not a farfetched goal.
Cebu has the greatest voting power among all provinces in the country. With more than 3.2 million registered voters, it is no wonder various national campaigns visit Cebu not just once but twice, thrice, or as many times as they deem practical. Some even launch and close their campaigns here. If Gwen et al deliver on their promised 1.2 million margin for BBM-Sara, that effectively makes up the icing on the cake.
Because even if they don't, but the crowd that attended the Monday rally indicates a change in the traditional anti-Marcos sentiment in Cebu, then replicate even half of that all over the island, and that pretty much sews up the game for the UniTeam. No amount of belittling denial and rejection by the Leni- Kiko campaign can alter the fact that when people gather, at least half the impetus of that is willingness.
Actually, this shift in Cebuano sentiment and perspective did not happen overnight with this campaign. In the 2016 vice presidential race, the forerunner to this year's rematch between Leni and BBM, Leni managed to acquire only a half-million-vote margin over BBM in Cebu. Indeed, for a traditionally anti-Marcos province, BBM placed third among six candidates. Had it been one-on-one, the fight would have been closer.
In the 2019 senatorial elections, BBM sister Imee Marcos placed 10th in Cebu City and 11th in the province, in both instances placing higher than eventual loser Bam Aquino, at the time the face of the yellow campaign, and this time the manager of the pink-cum-yellow campaign. What these backgrounders indicate is that a Marcos, any Marcos, can be assured of a vote in Cebu instead of a big fat egg.
I emphasize the "big fat egg" because if you dignify the nonsense of the pink campaign, it is being made to appear that Cebu on election day will be like Gaudete Sunday. Well, it certainly will not, no matter the extent of delusion that drives the pink campaign. The writing has already been on the fall as early as two elections back. If you cannot accept a Marcos as proof, take Bam.
The writing on the wall is so compelling even Leni, as yellow chairwoman, and Kiko, as yellow president, had to chuck that color in favor of pink. And that is very telling on the kind of people they are who, as top yellow officials, would deny, like the biblical Peter, any inconvenient association with it just to save their skins. Well, if the cock crowed thrice for Peter, Cebu will ring again for a Marcos in 2022 after 2016 and 2019.
As an aside, that presscon by Lacson, Moreno and Gonzales was the result of a pink scheme to hit two birds with one stone. If any or all of the above bit Leni's overtures for a united front, her position gets strengthened. If they won't bite, she can then use the failure to unite as her face-saving exit when the race is over. Let's face it, Leni never had it in her radar to be president. Unseen hands have her on pieces of strings.