LOOK: Marcos campaign HQ has no materials about Miriam

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. inaugurated on Thursday his own campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong. The headquarters is exclusive for Marcos, with no campaign materials for his presidential bet, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, in sight.

Marcos said with the headquarters in place, his campaign will go full blast ahead of the May polls.

"Full blast na ang ating kampanya," he said. "Eighty-two days remaining pero malaki ang Pilipinas and in that [number of] days, kailangan magawa natin lahat".

In the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Marcos was accompanied by his wife Liza; mother, former first lady and Ilocos Rep. Imelda Marcos; and sister Irene, with husband Greggy. 

The headquarters imposes an executive-class type of office unlike any ordinary campaign headquarters. It occupies two floors situated in a private building along EDSA in Mandaluyong. Upon entry, guests and supporters will be greeted at the airconditioned lobby by a huge photowall of Marcos and his supporters. His life-size picture is situated for photo opportunities.

Along the hall are maps of the different regions in the country which include pertinent details for their campaigns. The other parts consist of office tables for staff. There is also a hall exclusively for campaign leaders, VIPs and special guests. 

Some notable personalities who were present to show support for Marcos are politicians allied with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

They are former Candaba Mayor Gerry Pelayo, former Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Rep. Dong Gonzales, former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, and Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, who serves as Marcos' campaign manager for the National Capital Region. 

Marcos said the presence of Arroyo allies does not mean support for the entire Lakas party of the former president.

"Yung iba came as personal supporters, mukhang hindi na talaga matibay ang mga partylines," he said. "Politics is a game of addition."

Some officers and members of the transport group ACTO, and party-list groups ABAKADA, AGHAM and BUTIL, and groups from Ilocos were also present to show support for Marcos.

Marcos said he was able to put up the headquarters with financial help from the supporters. He promised that all his expenses in this campaign will be reported accordingly.

"May rule ang Comelec na lahat dapat ilista, lahat dapat i-report sa Comelec. We're only 8 days in the campaign, mahaba pa," Marcos said.


Meanwhile, Marcos rejected observations that his running mate, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, seems to be ''half-hearted'' about her presidential bid.

"Sa aming usapan, very enthusiastic siya at committed sa kampanya, pero syempre may karamdaman siyang kailangang alalayan," he said. 

Santiago earlier announced that she had "licked" Stage 4 lung cancer after taking medication, which she dubbed "wonder" pills.

Last year, she announced that she had conquered the illness and is ready to join the presidential race.

Santiago joined Marcos on the campaign trail for the first time during the campaign kick-off in Batac, Ilocos Norte last week.

She told the crowd that if their tandem wins the elections and something happens to her, the Philippines will be in good hands with Marcos as president. 

"If I die before I finish my six-year term, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be able to fit that bill," she said.

Marcos, meanwhile, also lamented what he calls a "rookie mistake" on the part of the Comelec to omit the name of Santiago in the initial printing of ballots. Marcos said small problems hounding the Comelec is something to be worried about. 

"It's a rookie mistake, all of these little problems sa Comelec, it seems symptomatic of a larger problem, that's why we are worried" he said.