Malacanang’s efforts to demonize Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ vice presidential campaign has apparently backfired on Pres. BS Aquino. This, after results of every preference survey conducted by major pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations since the end of March consistently showed the Ilocano senator as front-runner.
Among the 6 official candidates for the second highest post in the land, Marcos has consolidated his pole position and is now 5 percentage points ahead of Rep. Leni Robredo from the ruling Liberal Party. Aside from his “Solid North” bailiwick in the northern Luzon regions, Marcos is also ahead in Metro Manila, the country’s premier region.
In terms of generations, the second-term senator’s lead is most solid among those in the 30-45 age bracket, better known as the “martial law babies” who grew up under the authoritarian regime of Marcos’s father and namesake. He is seen to concentrate his final campaign week salvo on the Visayas and Mindanao regions, where his rivals Robredo and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, respectively, are currently on top.
Aquino has recently gone on an offensive to derail the Marcos campaign. Taking the cue from the other vice-presidentiables, he has trained his sights on the excesses of the martial law era, notably the issues of massive corruption and human rights violations which were prevalent then. But instead of making a dent, Aquino’s accusations have further bolstered Marcos’s popularity among the lower classes as well as factions of the upper and middle classes disgruntled at the failure of the incumbent administration to deliver basic services.
The blunders of Aquino’s Cabinet have also become the focus of voters’s disenchantment, particularly those committed by the so-called “Tres de Alas” or 3 aces composed of Agriculture Sec. Prosie Alcala, Budget Sec. Butch Abad and Transportation Sec. Jun Abaya, with Aquino himself being the 4th ace. Their litany of sins includes the Luneta hostage crisis, DAP/PDAF scandal, LTO/BOC schemes, Zamboanga siege, Yolanda rehab mishandling, Mamasapano massacre, MRT breakdowns, NAIA “tanim-bala” scam and the latest Kidapawan carnage.
Aquino’s detractors have threatened to file cases against him as soon as he steps down on June 30. On the other hand, many voters have come to the conclusion that his anti-Bongbong tirades are just ploys to prolong the family feud between the Aquino and Marcos clans.