By Xave Gregorio | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:48 p.m.) — Nacionalista Party, the former political party of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has formally endorsed him for president and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Nacionalista president and billionaire Manny Villar said Tuesday in a statement that the party “fully supports” the candidacies of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio.
“We believe that Bongbong and Inday Sara’s message of unity is crucial in binding our country together and inspiring our people as we rebuild not only from the pandemic but also from the political chasm that divides us,” Villar said.
He added, “They both have the platforms of government, qualifications, and track record to lead our country towards unity and prosperity.”
Marcos’ spokesperson and chief of staff Vic Rodriguez said Nacionalista’s endorsement of the Marcos-Duterte tandem “will surely serve as another insurance to the bandwagon of support for the UniTeam from political parties.”
Nacionalista’s endorsement of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio had been expected, as members of the Villar clan, including party chairperson Sen. Cynthia Villar, hosted the duo’s rally in Las Piñas.
Manny and Cynthia’s son, former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, is also included in the senatorial slate of the Marcos-Duterte tandem known as UniTeam.
Marcos had been a member of Nacionalista since 2009, but left the party to join and chair Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, a party closely associated with the Duterte administration, for his presidential run.
The relationship between Marcos and Nacionalista began when the then Ilocos Norte representative ran for senator under Kilusang Bagong Lipunan in the 2009 polls.
KBL, founded by Marcos’ father, the late Ferdinand Sr., had forged an alliance with Nacionalista at the time, but this partnership was short-lived due to conflict within the Marcos-era party.
Nacionalista is the oldest political party in the country and has endured even Marcos’ martial rule which forced parties to coalesce under KBL. The party opted not to be involved in this and went dormant until the late 1980s.