Aspiring candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. chose to woo his supporters from the vote-rich province of Pangasinan in a campaign rally over the weekend instead of attending the highly-anticipated presidential debate that was attended by all his rivals.
Marcos Jr.’s absence during the CNN Presidential Debate on Sunday night, Feb. 27 was highlighted by an empty podium that was designated at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) grounds, where the event was held.
At that time, the presidential survey frontrunner was holding his campaign rally in Bayambang, Pangasinan, where he had spent at least two days.
It was also the second time that Marcos Jr. stayed in a certain province for two days since the campaign season kicked off on Feb. 8. The first time he did this was in Cavite, another vote-rich area, where he campaigned from Feb. 10 to 11.
“With the size of the province of Pangasinan, two days is not even enough. And it’s one of the, yung mga may pinakamatatataas na registered voters (provinces with high number of registered voters). So it’s important and it’s important even more because this is part of the ‘Solid North’,” his spokesman, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, told reporters.
“Another reason why we are here for two days, matagal nang nakaschedule ito (this has been scheduled for a long time already) as early as Jan. 11, if I’m not mistaken,” Rodriguez added.
In a media release, the Marcos camp said “millions of supporters” from Pangasinan participated in his activities in the province. It said it was based on consolidated data from police, which estimated that two million of Pangasinan’s three million residents joined the events.
“Marcos’s two-day visit to Pangasinan was a success as different personalities and prominent politicians also joined him in his activities,” his camp said. “It is very clear that the Pangasinense are all in for the BBM-Sara UniTeam and their call for unity.”
The CNN Presidential Debate was attended by nine out of the 10 presidential candidates in the May 2022 polls—the biggest gathering so far among the Palace seat hopefuls.