MANILA—The desperation of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s supporters is driving his popularity despite historical and legal facts that have been brought against him, the PR head of one of his rivals said Monday.
"It's still a puzzlement," Lito Banayo, campaign manager of presidential bet and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, told ANC when he was asked about Marcos' following.
According to Banayo, Marcos' supporters "do not think or contemplate on their choices as much as they did before, so much so that they become so gullible."
He said those backers believe that the Philippines will become rich once Marcos distributes his family's "Tallano Gold" in case he wins.
The politician himself has denied the existence of such artifact.
"Naniniwala sa fake na ginto. Naniniwala (na) ibabalik daw iyong yaman na ninakaw. Ang masakit doon, inaamin nila na magnanakaw iyong pamilya (ni Marcos) pero basta ibabalik sa kanila," Banayo said, referring to the politician's family's ill-gotten wealth when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was in power.
"It's really a sad commentary on the kind of voting population that we have."
He said the myth that the Marcos camp supposedly established for several years should be "punctured".
"Lobo lang 'yan e, it's just hot air and nothing else," Banayo said.
Former senator Serge Osmeña, who once served in the high chamber with Marcos, said Marcos "hasn’t done anything at all" to gain the popularity he has right now.
"He has done nothing as governor, he has done nothing as congressman, (and) he has done nothing as senator," Osmeña told ANC.
"I don’t know what in his past he has done to make us want to vote for him."
Marcos retained his sizable lead in a Social Weather Stations survey conducted last month ahead of the presidential race on May 9.
He garnered a 31-point lead over his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, and got 50 percent of support from respondents of the January 28-31 poll versus the latter's 19 percent, according to Stratbase ADR Institute, which commissioned the polls.
The latest Pulse Asia survey, conducted January 19-24, also saw Marcos as the first choice among presidential candidates, with 60 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him "if the May 2022 elections were held today."
The survey results came shortly after petitions to disqualify Marcos from the presidential race over his 1995 tax case conviction were controversially dismissed by the Commission of Elections.
Political analysts earlier said disinformation and propaganda were playing a part in his popularity, noting lower-income earners were most "vulnerable" to fake news due to limited Internet access.
The Marcos camp has denied allegations it has social media "trolls” supporting his candidacy in Halalan 2022, saying it only has "true-blooded supporters".