By Edu Punay | The Philippine Star
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A possible endorsement by President Duterte on the presidential bid of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is in the works, an official of his political party bared.
Cabinet Secretary Melvin Matibag, secretary general of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction of Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, revealed that they are now working on the President’s attendance in a grand rally of the UniTeam tandem of Marcos and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“We’re planning the joint rally (of UniTeam and PDP-Laban) but we still need to fix the schedule. Hopefully PRRD (President Duterte) will attend,” he told The STAR as he joined the UniTeam grand rally here Tuesday night.
Matibag said they are expecting the President to attend the joint rally being planned since he has actively been attending rallies of PDP-Laban where he has been endorsing their senatorial candidates.
“We are hoping that it will happen… Anyway we already talked about it, that’s I’m here joining. We’re really supporting the UniTeam,” Matibag bared.
He said the main challenge so far is the meeting of schedules of their parties.
“We’re hoping that it happens except that there’s just a small time left in the campaign and that is the concern. But we are hoping it happens,” Matibag explained.
Still, the PDP-Laban official stressed that their party has already started joining forces with the UniTeam when their allies in Laguna led by Gov. Ramil Hernandez and Deputy Speaker and Laguna Rep. Marlyn "Len" Alonte hosted the grand rally for Marcos and Carpio last week.
“Gov. Ramil and Cong. Len organized that rally and they’re PDP members, so PDP is 100% for UniTeam,” he said.
Marcos, meanwhile, remains hopeful he would get the endorsement of the President who remains popular even in the remaining few months of his term unlike his predecessors.
At a press conference here last Tuesday afternoon, the former senator said he is “crossing our finger” to get Duterte’s endorsement that he believes would further boost his campaign.
Marcos believes that he has already been receiving the President’s “tacit endorsement” even if the President doesn’t publicly announce it.
“As chair of PDP-Laban, he allowed the release of the party’s endorsement of me and Inday Sara, so for me that’s already tacit endorsement,” he explained.
Marcos believes that the President could just be delaying his decision to endorse “because he doesn’t want the candidates to be too reluctant.”
Marcos said he also understands the hesitation of the President in making the endorsement since he wants to be fair to all the candidates.
“So I’m still hoping to get the endorsement because I believe his endorsement will be of big help for us,” he commented.
In an interview with CNN Philippines aired last night night, the presidential frontrunner also addressed for the first time the earlier statement of the President that he was a spoiled brat and a weak leader.
Marcos said he believes Duterte was “playing politics” in making the remark.
“I think one of the things we have learned about PRRD (President Duterte) is that he likes to keep everyone on their toes. He’s always making sure everybody’s thinking hard about what they’re doing. So I think that was one of the instances,” he said.
Marcos and Duterte met last month but details of their discussion remained undisclosed.
Duterte also publicly hinted he would be forced to endorse a presidential candidate to prevent a candidate allegedly allied with communists from winning.