Fervor in the Philippines as the election campaign reaches a climax

Supporters of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late Filipino dictator, and vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, wave flags during their last election demonstration before the national team. of the 2022 elections, in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 7, 2022. (Reuters / Eloisa Lopez)
  • The winner gets a 6-year term as president
  • Marcos tops all polls this year
  • Fierce rivalry between Robredo, Marcos

Crowds of hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the Philippines on Saturday, where top presidential candidates made a last ditch effort to sway undecided voters with patriotic and optimistic messages after a divisive election race.

Fireworks lit the sky as singers, celebrities and social media stars took to the stages of the capital Manila ahead of Monday’s election, which pits Vice President Leni Robredo against favorite Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the infamous late dictator who he ruled the Philippines for 20 years.

If opinion polls are accurate, Robredo, 57, will need a late surge or low voter turnout to win the presidency, with Marcos, a former congressman and senator, leading her by over 30. percentage points, having passed all polls this year.

The two embody a political abyss that has existed for more than four decades, with Robredo’s roots in the movement that led a 1986 “popular power” uprising that overtook elder Marcos, and Marcos Jr on the verge of a comeback. almost unthinkable for the time disgraced first family.

Marcos launched his campaign as an opportunity to bridge that gap.

“We will reach the day when when we join forces, when we face the world again and shout at our friends and wave our flag, we will be proud to say we are Filipinos,” Marcos told a roaring crowd in a red T-shirt who waved. nationwide flags.

Marcos’ opponents say the presidency is the end of a years-long effort to change the historical narratives of authoritarianism and pillage that haunted his family, which despite its fall from grace remains one of the richest and most influential in politics. Filipino.

Marcos Jr was criticized for his lack of a political platform and for avoiding debates and media appearances, a strategy that minimized scrutiny and allowed him to generate social media support among voters born long after the government of his father.

Fierce rivalry

On Monday there will be the rematch of the 2016 presidential election that Marcos seemed destined to win, before losing by just 200,000 votes to Robredo. He claimed he cheated and fought hard to overturn the result, which the Supreme Court confirmed.

LIGHT: Marcos and Robredo lead the field before the Philippine presidential vote

“This fight is not about one person or one candidate. They are just a vehicle of love that engulfs Filipinos, ”Robredo told hundreds of thousands of supporters at a demonstration that turned areas of the city’s business district to pink, the color of his countryside.

If the election reflects opinion polls, Marcos, 64, could be the first Philippine president to be majority-elected since his father’s demise.

“I am so happy because he is close to becoming the next president. I’m sure, as long as there is no cheating, ”said Marcos supporter Emma Montes, 43, a domestic worker, after attending the Marcos demonstration.

About 65 million Filipinos can vote on Monday to decide on President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor after six years in power, as well as thousands of other posts, from lawmakers and governors to mayors and city councilors.

Christian Dave Palero, 22, a call center agent dressed in a pink jacket, said he still believed Robredo had a chance to triumph.

“We are exhausted but we are happy and fulfilled,” he said. “We are confident that Leni can win”.

—Reportage by Neil Jerome Morales and Lisa Marie David; Additional reporting by Jay Ereno, Adrian Portugal and Eloisa Lopez; Editing by Martin Petty

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