Former senator and presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and vice presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – From the looks of it, the tandem of BBM-Sara will win the elections on May 9, 2022.

This was the statement issued by Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) Secretary General and Cabinet Secretary Melvin Matibag at a press conference in Quezon City on Tuesday.

The bold announcement of Matibag was anchored mainly on the overwhelming support of its more than 100,000 members and candidates nationwide and the unquestionable results of trusted surveys of the PDP-Laban’s front-running presidential candidate former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and vice presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

“Our more than 6,000 candidates, mostly incumbent governors, mayors and congressmen, are hard at work campaigning for the victory of BBM-Sara and the entire PDP Laban slate. That will make the difference in this elections,” Matibag said.

As the campaign slowly waned to just more than two weeks, the tandem’s number increased and their closest pursuers are scrambling down hitting them and the other candidates to somewhat bolster their stock.

However, the PDP Laban remains unperturbed saying they opted to choose Marcos as the party’s presidential candidate because they see in him the resolve to continue what President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has started.

Matibag said it is important the next president of the country will continue the legacy of Duterte.

“It is important to continue the Duterte legacy, promote it and preserve it. No one can argue what the president has done for the country,” he said.

He said BBM was chosen by the party using a process and the members of the party were one in saying that the presidential candidate is the fitting choice as they see in him his resolve to continue the Duterte legacy.

“Marcos is the only candidate we saw that would continue the Duterte legacy which is anchored on the 11-point agenda,” Matibag said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PDP-Laban president, on the other hand, said the Constitution should be respected in the exercise of the elections.

“Our call is to support the candidate who will continue the gains of the Duterte administration. It is bad to say that there would be trouble in the event Vice President Leni Robredo or the others lose in the elections. Let us support the conduct of a clean and honest election. The PDP-Laban wants to have a clean and honest election, we need to unite to become a strong organization and work hard to move the Philippines forward and also the lives of Filipinos),” Cusi said.

Former presidential legal adviser Salvador “Sal” Panelo said the other parties that sounded the warning of trouble if they lose in the national elections are dumbfounded by the strength of Marcos in the survey.

“Kanya-kanyang diskarte ang iyan kung ano ang gagawin, kasi pag-uusapan sila at nasa (Each has their own strategy on what to do because they will be talked about and in the) limelight in their bid to bolster their own bid for the presidency,” Panelo said.

He added, “it is a recognition of the strength of BBM. Kinikilala nila ang lakas ng kandidatura ni BBM kung naniniwala sila sa kanilang kandidatura hindi sila ganyan, kung paniniwalaan mo ang survey napakalayo nila (They recognize the strength of BBM’s candidacy, if they believe in their candidacy they will not be like that if you believe the survey they are very far).”

For “Tatak Duterte” senatorial aspirant Greco Belgica, the recent press conference held by some presidential candidates just weakened the camp of the opposition as they already acknowledged that Marcos is a strong contender for the May national elections.

Marcos is the leading presidential candidate among nine other aspirants based on the surveys since last year.

“Ang nangyari po kasi ay it weakened the opposition -- the candidates against BBM. Nagsama-sama sila na ini-acknowledge na malakas si BBM (What happened was that it weakened the opposition -- the candidates against BBM. Together they acknowledged that BBM is strong),” Belgica said.

Belgica condemned the reported threats of resorting to mass actions and creating chaos if Robredo fails to win in the coming elections.

“Makakaasa po ang taumbayan na kami po ay magbabantay ng maayos na eleksyon at hindi mananaig ang pananakot ng ibang kandidato na magkakaroon ng gulo (The people can hope that we will monitor the proper conduct of elections and that the threats of other candidates that there will be trouble will not prevail),” he added.

On the call for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race, Belgica urged her not to withdraw as the public would rightfully choose the candidate to be elected in the highest post of the land come 2022 polls.

“Sa akin, huwag po siya magwithdraw. Boboto naman ang tao eh. Tao ang magwi-withdraw kung sino ang ayaw nila eh para makita ng maayos kung sino talaga ang gusto ng tao (To me, don't let him withdraw. People will vote anyway. People will decide who they don't want to see who they really want,” he said.

Veteran broadcaster Rey Langit also supported the view of the party, pointing out that Marcos has an upward trend and a high chance to be the next President.

"Base naman po sa mga survey, malinaw naman po kung sino ang nangunguna. Pero hindi dapat natin hayaang mawala ang momentum (Based on the surveys, it is clear who is leading. But we must not let the momentum be lost)," Langit said.

He added that he was already expecting that they would come up with a name that turned out to be Robredo.

"But obviously it did not materialize," Langit said.

Langit said the core message of the said conference strayed away from their initial intention of not withdrawing and in the end, targeted a single candidate.

Langit, meanwhile, urged the voters to not be carried away by distractions and instead, choose the presidential candidate that will continue the legacy of Duterte administration. (PR)