It’s Vice President Jejomar Binay and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos as the top choice of the Bohol United Opposition (BUO) for the May 9, 2016 national elections for president and vice president.
The political partnership that could not materialize when both Binay and Marcos were seeking their running mates due to what Marcos described as “a great political divide” was sealed during a lunch meeting with BUO on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at the Shang Palace in Barangay Taloto, Tagbilaran City.
A show of force by municipal mayors from the three congressional districts together with their candidates and supporters welcomed Independent vice presidential bet Marcos led by NPC 2nd District Congressman Aristotle “Aris” Aumentado and PDP Loay Mayor Rosemarie “May” Imboy, the United Opposition’s gubernatorial candidate.
“We are united behind you”, Aumentado told Marcos during their lunch-meeting withÂ Bien Unido Mayor NiÃ±o Rey Boniel who is running for Board Member in the 2nd District under the Nacionalista Party and Danao Mayor Louis Thomas Gonzaga of the NPC, running unopposed, also pledged to support the Marcos candidacy as one solid group.
Thanking the BUO, Marcos said “what the opposition group in Bohol has managed to do is the same thing I have been pushing for in my campaign which is unity”.
Marcos also expressed his appreciation to the BUO saying “And that is why I am very appreciative of your coming here today. I know that some of you have crossed party lines to be with us today and to offer your support for my candidacy for vice president, so thank you very much.”
Asked by the Chronicle if Binay’s vice presidential running mate, Gringo Honasan has acquiesced in his favor the vice presidential slot considering the statements of Honasan that “the president’s son should not be burdened by his father’s record”.
Marcos answered “No, no. That is his position. My president is Miriam Santiago”.
Despite the stifling heat caused by a sudden power outage, the mood remained upbeat upon the arrival of Marcos from a quick visit to Vice Governor Concepcion Lim’s residence in Valencia upon his arrival from the Tagbilaran City airport.
Marcos quickly dispelled speculations that his visit to Valencia meant Lim’s political support for his vice presidential bid saying ” No, no. When my Mom knew I was going to Bohol she told me to visit Lim. Both our families have a history”.
“She told me to pay a visit to Vice Governor Lim who was the provincial president of the “Blue Ladies”, Marcos told a shortened press conference with the local media adding “It means that I went to visit an old friend.”
The famed “Blue Ladies” was a coterie of “ladies in waiting” who were wives of rich and powerful politicians and businessmen that surrounded Imelda Marcos, the widow of the late President Ferdinand Marcos who reigned as First Lady for 21 years. She is now the congresswoman of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte and is running for reelection for a third term.
The Binay and Marcos tandem as supported by the BUO raised political eyebrows after Marcos reportedly declined Binay’s offer to be his vice presidential running mate.
According to a Rappler report, Imelda Marcos was against the tandem, citing Binay’s record as a human rights lawyer fighting the dictatorship of the late President Marcos and was an ally of the late President Cory Aquino.
“The political divide was a little too wide for us to breach at every level”, said Marcos as quoted by Rappler.
At one point in his search for his presidential standard bearer, Marcos preferred Duterte but the feisty Davao City mayor who now leads all comers in the presidential preference surveys opted for Cayetano boldly predicting that “he will wipe out all his rivals for the vice presidential race”.
Both Binay and Marcos are facing plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman. Binay was accused for overpricing a multi billion peso contract for the construction of the Makati City Parking Building ll while Marcos is being accused by a group calling itself Ibalik ang Bilyones ng mga Mamamayan (iBBM) for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
With Marcos leading the vice presidential surveys in the national level with an average 8% over Robredo, Escudero and Cayetano, the Holy Name University – Bohol Poll Survey conducted on March 12 – April 4, 2016 showed a different picture with Marcos at the tailend.
Marcos was the preferred vice presidential candidate in Bohol with 12% as against the LP Robredo 28%, Escudero 25% and Cayetano 24%, considered a statistical tie.
With the strong support promised by the BUO under the leadership of Aumentado, the visit of Marcos to Bohol would likely boost his preference scores in the 2nd and 3rd districts where he scored a low 9% and 10% respectively.
Marcos voter’s preference score in Tagbilaran City is 17% with the 1st District preference at 16%.
In the 2010 senatorial elections, Marcos landed in the 18th spot in Bohol with 98,079 or 2.40% of the total votes cast while Santiago, presidential running mate of Marcos placed 2nd with 236,956 votes or 5.79%. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who is now under detention for alleged plunder raps topped the 12 senatorial slate.
Meanwhile, the lunch meeting with Marcos and BUO was marred by a sudden power outage that reportedly hit the area surrounding Shang Palace that raised suspicion of “sabotage” as brownouts have been hounding Marcos in his campaign trail in Iloilo and Bayawan, Negros Oriental.
In a press statement emailed to the Chronicle, Marcos lamented the power outages that “seem to be a normal occurrence in the campaign sorties”.
Marcos expressed suspicion that “this is a possible sabotage considering the pattern of brownouts that has been hounding my campaign”.
“Lahat ng puntahan ko, dala ko ang brownout e. I donâ€™t know kung artificial o dedicated sa akin ang brownout na ito. There seems to be a pattern”, said Marcos.
Bohol Light Company Inc. (BLCI), the sole power distributor in the city told the Chronicle that “there was a call for assistance from the Shang Palace management but the response team proceeded to another restaurant with a similar name”.
The generator owned by the restaurant blew a fuse but was quickly replaced unlike the blown fuse of a nearby transformer owned by BLCI that was replaced an hour after.
According to BLCI General Manager Engr. Eulogio Signe, a “root cause analysis” is now underway to prevent a similar incident in the area where car companies, restaurants, factories and a bus company garage are located.
BLCI and Shang Ma Nu related to the Chronicle the circumstances surrounding the power interruption to deny rumors of “sabotage” as suspected by the Marcos entourage.
Marcos took the opportunity of lambasting the Aquino administration for the country’s power situation for “doing nothing about the power crisis despite warnings from industry stakeholders”.
Marcos urged the next administration to study the potential of alternative sources of energy but stopped short of pushing for the re-opening of the controversial 620 megawatt mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) located in a government reservation in Napot Point in Morong, Bataan that cost the Philippine Government $US2.3 billion.
“Let us examine the potential of nuclear power and other alternative sources of energy including nuclear power because many countries are using it as it is the cheapest and safest if operated well.”
Mired in financial, technical and geological problems, the BNPP, constructed during the term of President Marcos in 1976 is now a tourist destination after President Cory Aquino decided not to operate the plant.
Senator Marcos, running as an independent, took the solo top spot in the latest vice presidential surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) on March 30 – April 2, 2016 and an ABS-CBN commissioned Pulse Asia survey on March 29 – April 3, 2016.Â (Chito M. Visarra)