MANILA - It will be a "tough job" for any presidential candidate to win against former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s "obfuscatory tactics," a veteran campaign strategist said, Thursday.
Marcos Jr.'s campaign policy of not granting a lot of interviews and snubbing debates sponsored by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) "is working for him," said Lito Banayo, chief strategist of Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso.
"Parang na-hypnotize niya ang Pilipino for the past 5 years, when all of us are thinking that he is only concerned about his electoral protest against Vice President Leni [Robedo]," Banayo told ANC's Headstart.
"But mukhang all throughout these 5 years, he and his handlers have been doing an excellent job mesmerizing the Filipino population, especially those who never really experienced the difficulties or the hardships or the brutalities of his father's martial law reign," he said.
Marcos Jr. has consistently topped pre-election surveys since filing his certificate of candidacy for president in October 2021.
In Pulse Asia's March pre-election survey, Marcos got 56 percentage points, while Robredo trailed in second place with 24 percentage points.
Domagoso landed in third place with 8 percentage points, Sen. Manny Pacquiao got 6 percent, while Sen. Panfilo Lacson scored 2 percent.
Banayo downplayed these numbers, saying their own survey "shows that we are neck and neck with Vice President Robredo in some instances."
"We are 2 points ahead, but that is a statistical tie," Domagoso's strategist said.
"Wala tayong magagawa doon, naisahan tayong lahat... Sabihin na nating natutulog tayo sa pancitan habang ginagawa nila itong lahat ng revisionism na ito," he said.
More than the fragmented opposition, Marcos Jr.'s presidential bid is appealing to voters due to the failure of post-martial law politicians to instill just and lasting change after the dictator's family was toppled from power in 1986.
"The 30 plus years since we overthrew a dictatorship through People Power has failed to give them better economic opportunities that the only salvation in life for many of these people is to get out of the country and get a job overseas no matter the social cost," he said.
"The compendium of the demonization attempts of efforts against the dilaws (Liberal Party and its supporters) has really taken a toll on people's perception of the VP and her cabal," Bayano claimed.
He denied insinuations that Domagoso has been courting the Marcos family's favor by criticizing Robredo.
Domagoso has not been hitting Marcos Jr. on a personal level because the late son of the former dictator never insulted him, Banayo said.
"There has never been any attempt to discuss politics between or among these 3 people," he said, referring to Domagoso, Marcos, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is running for vice president under Marcos' UniTeam slate.
"Walang sense of betrayal on these people... Walang personal encounters at all," he said.