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BBM-Sara is Official: Bongbong Marcos, Sara Duterte are Running as a Tandem

Red and green join forces.
by Pia Regalado, Erwin Colcol and Reuters
14 hours ago
Photo/s: Nice Print/Facebook

(UPDATE) Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio said Wednesday they were running together in 2022, making official a political tandem that brings together two of the Philippines' most powerful political families.

With the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte agreeing to slide down as vice president, the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is emerging as the frontrunner in the presidential race, analysts said.

"Naitawid na namin ni Mayor Inday Sara Duterte ang proseso para sa tambalang inaasam-asam ng aming mga taga-supporta -- ang BBM-SARA sa 2022," Marcos Jr said. 

"Napagkasunduan namin at ng aming mga partido ang pagsusulong ng mapagkaisang liderato sakaling kami ay palarin sa darating na halalan sa Mayo 9, 2022."

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Duterte-Carpio said in a separate Facebook post that she her father's political party, PDP-Laban, to support her tanem with Marcos Jr but she was turned down.

"Tinanggihan ito ng PDP at naiintindihan natin ito. Pero gusto ko lang na linawin, walang pangalan na sinisira o dinudungisan, walang sinasagasaan, walang inaagrabyado, inaaway, pinapaiyak o inaapi," she said.

Responding to Duterte-Carpio's statement, Sen. Bong Go said PDP-Laban didn't refuse to support anyone.

"I will let the PDP leadership clarify these matters in due time. Alam ko naman po na wala kaming tinatanggihan. Being the administration party, we have always exerted efforts to reach out to those who are supportive of President Duterte," he said.

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"With regard to Mayor Sara, we always wish her well. As I have said earlier, kung ako lang ang tatanungin, siya ang aking sinusuportahan sa pagka-bise presidente," he added.

Duterte-Carpio is running under ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Lakas-CMD, while Marcos Jr. is Partido Federal ng Pilipinas' standard bearer. His party adopted Duterte-Carpio as his running mate.

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President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said his daughter shouldn't have yielded to Marcos Jr. when she was ahead in opinion polls for president.

The elder Duterte, who is seeking a Senate seat, is backing the presidential run of his longtime aide Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, who is hoping for a Sara-Bong tandem. 


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Bongbong Marcos the candidate to beat?

While Marcos's candidacy has angered victims of his father's brutal era of martial law, a survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) in October showed he could easily beat his rivals, including boxing hero Manny Pacquiao.

"Without the popular Duterte-Carpio in the presidential race, Marcos is frontrunner, with 60% odds of victory, though there is a long road ahead," the Eurasia Group consultancy said in a note to clients late on Monday, after nominations closed.

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Of the six key candidates confirmed to run for president during the survey period, 47% of the 1,200 surveyed by SWS said they would vote for the 64-year-old Marcos, popularly known as "Bongbong" or "BBM".

"The only explanation there is he got the pro-Sara voters. There is very close affinity between BBM voters and Sara's voters," said political analyst Temario Rivera.

The election to choose a successor to Duterte will be held in May next year. He himself is not eligible to contest for the presidency again after his single six-year term but will be standing in the election for a senator's seat.

Marcos is the only son of the late dictator who ruled the Philippines for almost two decades until his 1986 overthrow. He said he wants Duterte-Carpio to be his running mate, but she has yet to accept.

Marcos's family is among the country's most famous dynasties and despite its fall from grace, has retained far-reaching and powerful connections.

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'Stop pro-Marcos candidate'

Marcos, the dictator, died in exile in 1989 after fleeing the country following the "people power" revolution. Since the family's return, Marcos junior has been elected governor, congressman, and in 2010, as a senator. His sister is a senator and a former governor, and his mother, Imelda Marcos, was elected to Congress for four terms.

"In a country whereby political memories are quite short and forgiveness is not in short supply, this is definitely working in favor of the Marcoses," said Richard Heydarian, an author, columnist and academic who specialises in politics.

Working to his advantage, political analysts also say, is Marcos's strong social media presence aimed at targeting the youth, who make up a third of eligible voters. Many of them were not born when Marcos senior was in power.

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Marcos will benefit also from the tie-up with Duterte-Carpio, tapping her family's huge popularity in the south, a region where the Marcos family has struggled to make inroads in national elections.

The poll results showed the other presidential candidates far adrift, with incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo with 18%, and Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso on 13%, followed by Pacquiao with 9%.

The poll did not include Christopher "Bong" Go, President Duterte's closest aide, who only joined the presidential race on Saturday, and analysts say his entry, which is backed by the popular firebrand leader, could dilute some of Marcos's support.

Marcos is also facing a disqualification case grounded on a two-decade old tax evasion conviction, which Eurasia said the president could "weaponise if he turns against his ally."

It was not immediately clear late on Tuesday if Duterte-Carpio's alliance with Marcos had her father's blessing.

The race could narrow too, if Marcos's rivals unite behind a single "stop-Marcos" candidate in the race, Eurasia said.

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