The decision of President Rodrigo Duterte not to endorse any presidential aspirant in the national elections turned to former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s advantage, a political analyst said Monday.
Dr. Froilan Calilung, who teaches political science in the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), believes that Duterte’s silence over his preferred presidential candidate benefited Marcos because this would free the former senator of being linked to the current administration’s shortcomings.
“President Duterte’s decision not to endorse our frontrunner BBM benefited him because if President Duterte did endorse him he has to answer for the shortcomings and pitfalls of the Duterte administration,” he said in an interview over PTV-4.
Calilung said Duterte’s not endorsing Marcos also meant that the latter is “not beholden” to continue programs and policies started by the current administration.
“He can start on a clean slate and he could actually forward his platform based on his own merits without being anchored on President Duterte. I think that is what really benefitted him,” he added.
Calilung said Marcos did not need an endorsement from the President since he was already enjoying a comfortable lead based on surveys.
Amid criticism that some surveys may not be reliable, Calilung said there is scientific basis behind how they are done.
He said online search tools like Google Trends only show specific keywords, subjects and phrases that have been searched over a specific period of time.
Robredo’s supporters have insisted that Google Trends point towards a Robredo victory in contrast to what surveys projected.
Asked if Robredo’s massive turnout of volunteer-supporters in rallies could be an indication of people’s real choices, he said they still could not be compared to the reliability of surveys.
“With drone shots, we don’t really know why there were there in the first place because we did not ask them if they are voting for their candidate,” he said.
He, however, acknowledged that election outcomes are not set in stone.
“As we always say, election day is the penultimate decision day. That’s the time wherein we will be able to really see,” he added.
Marco’s running mate is Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is also the leading vice presidential candidate based on surveys.