MANILA, Philippines — Lawyer Alex Lopez, a candidate for Mayor of Manila, on Saturday led thousands of the capital city's residents in a show of support for the UniTeam tandem of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in Manila's Sampaloc district.
According to the Manila Police District, around 14,000 people attended the event as of early Saturday evening, where Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and suspended lawyer Larry Gadon took the stage to campaign for themselves and for the tandem.
"Ang aming pamilya ay mayroong malaking utang na loob sa inyong lahat, sa pagmamahal at suporta na ibinibigay ninyo sa amin. Si Pangulong Duterte po gusto niyang malaman ninyong lahat na nasa puso niya ang pagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat dito sa siyudad ng Maynila," Mayor Duterte said.
(Our family owes a debt of gratitude to all of you, for the love and support you have given us. President Duterte wants you to know that his heart is filled with gratitude to all of you in the City of Manila.)
Manila's mayor, Franciso "Isko Moreno" Domagaso, is also running for president but is far behind Marcos, who has been leading pre-election surveys. Mayor Duterte, daughter of the widely popular president, has also been topping surveys.
Mayor Duterte, in seeking support from the people of Manila, said her family has "a promise to the nation" to work to ensure people have jobs and live peaceful lives.
Marcos, who has been running mainly with the promise to bring back the supposed glory days of the Philippines during his father's presidency, pitched his message of unity and the narrtive of the resilience of Filipinos.
"Kahit anong ibato ninyo sa aming kahirapan, kahit anong mangyari dito na dumaan na sakuna, kahit noong pandemya kami dahil nagkakaisa kami, hindi lamang kami nakaraos, kami ay sumikat pa at haharapin natin ang buong mundo at sisigaw tayong muli at iwawagayway natin ang bandila ng Pilipinas at sasabihin natin sa buong mundo, ako ay Pilipino, taas noo kahit kanino," the ousted dictator's son said.
(Whatever hardship you throw at us, whatever calamities — even during the pandemic, because we were united, we did not only survive, we even shone. And we will face the whole world and we will shout again and we will wave the flag of the Philippines and and we will tell the whole world that I am a Filipino and I will hold my head up high against anyone.)
Marcos, whose election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo over her 2016 poll victory has been dismissed by the Supreme Court, again raised the specter of poll fraud, claiming without basis that there will be cheating in the May polls.
"Hindi talaga tayo papayag na 'yung ginagawang kalokohan dahil sa eleksyon, ngunit…ay kinakampihan po tayo ng ating Pangulo. Wina-warningan niya po lahat ng mga may nag-iisip na gumawa ng kalokohan sa susunod na halalan. Siya raw ang bahala sa inyong lahat kaya mag-isip isip kayo bago niyo gagawin 'yan," a UniTeam press statement quotes him as saying.
(We will not allow any mischief because of the elections, but… and the president is on our side. He has warned all who are thinking about conducting fraud in the coming elections. He will be the one who will deal with you so you better think twice before you do that.)
Duterte has said he is supporting his daughter's vice-presidential bid but has also said he will be neutral in the presidential race.
The administration PDP-Laban, of which Duterte is chairman, has thrown its support behind the UniTeam and joins the Lakas-CMD, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas and other parties in the alliance.