MANILA — Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Friday visited vote-rich Cebu, one of his first provincial visits since declaring his run for president in the 2022 elections.
Cebu 5th District Rep. Duke Frasco welcomed the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos when he arrived at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Frasco is the husband of Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco, who serves as spokesperson for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, whose supporters are pushing her to run for president.
Marcos' sister Sen. Imee Marcos earlier called the possible tandem between her brother and Duterte-Carpio as a "marriage made in heaven" as it would unify votes from the country's north and south.
The Marcoses continue to enjoy following in their bailiwick Ilocos Norte, while the Dutertes have controlled political power in southern city Davao for decades.
But Duterte-Carpio has filed her candidacy for mayor. Analysts say she could still make a bid for the presidency as a substitute candidate until Nov. 15.
In his Cebu visit, Marcos paid a courtesy call on Gov. Gwen Garcia at the provincial capitol.
"Nagtsismis lang kami dalawa kung ano bali-balita of what’s going to happen," Marcos said.
(We just gossiped on news of what’s going to happen.)
Marcos did not answer whether or not he sought endorsement from the governor. Cebu topped vote-rich provinces in the Philippines in 2019.
"I’m seeking endorsement for everyone and an endorsement from Gov. Gwen is going to be... very, very important because Cebu is very much a leader in opinion generation in this part of the country," he said.
"But that's not what we talked about because there’s still time... In the last few weeks ang daming development na nangyari na hindi natin inaasahan kaya lahat naghihintay at nakabantay baka may mangyari pang development between now and [Nov.] 15," he continued.
(There were many developments we did not expect so everyone is waiting and watching, there may be more developments between now and the 15th.)
Marcos recently said he had eyed President Rodrigo Duterte as his running-mate for the 2022 polls, but the latter announced his retirement from politics. Instead, his longtime aide Sen. Christopher Go is running for vice president, a post Duterte earlier said he would seek.
The President's party PDP-Laban, to which Garcia belongs, fielded Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa as its standard-bearer.
While the other presidential aspirants have announced their Senate slates, Marcos said he would rather wait for Nov. 15, when he expects to have a better grasp on the national and local political climate.
Marcos lost to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 elections.
In Cebu province, Robredo got 39.4 percent of votes while Marcos came in third with 15 percent.
Cebu is a known bailiwick of opposition leaders and critics of the 1970s Marcos martial law hounded by allegations of corruption and rights abuses.
– Report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News