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Marcos dances as rivals slug it out in debate
Published on: Tuesday, March 01, 2022
By: ABS CBN News
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Marcos prodded to dance during the pitch of one of his  UniTeam’s senatorial bets at the St. Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park.
Marcos prodded to dance during the pitch of one of his UniTeam’s senatorial bets at the St. Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park.
BAYAMBANG: While his nine rivals for the presidency slugged it out on the first television debate to bring nearly all of them together, survey frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was capping off his two-day campaign in vote-rich Pangasinan province Sunday night with a different first—dancing on stage to the delight of supporters.

It was a surprise for those attending the “unity concert” at the St. Vincent Ferrer Prayer Park in Bayambang to see Marcos Jr. prodded to dance during the pitch of one of his UniTeam’s senatorial bets.

Seemingly going off script, former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque called Marcos Jr. to join him in dancing after the crowd egged Roque on.

Roque had already performed his campaign dance—a staple of all his appearances—and proceeded to talk about his platform when the audience chanted “Sasayaw na ‘yan!”

Asking the crowd to follow his lead, he called onstage Bayambang mayoral candidate and celebrity Niña Jose Quiambao, her husband outgoing Bayambang mayor Cezar Quiambao, and Pangasinan 3rd district congressional aspirant Rachel Arenas, along with Marcos Jr. and Roque’s fellow senatorial bet Larry Gadon.

After the dance, Roque no longer went back to his speech, saying he had nothing more to say and thanked the crowd.

The political portion of the event ran like the rest of the UniTeam’s rallies over the weekend in other Pangasinan towns and cities.

In his speech, the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas bet repeated his campaign spiel of unity for progress and a return of national pride.

He again echoed his appeal to what he saw as the Filipino’s trait of non-confrontation.

Marcos Jr.’s speech—periodically interrupted by chants of his moniker “BBM”—came as the 3-hour presidential debate organized by CNN Philippines was going into its closing statements.

The Marcos camp had earlier declined the news org’s invitation to join, citing a conflict in schedule.

Spokesperson Vic Rodriguez also said they would steer clear from election forums that ended with candidates “fighting”, in keeping with their campaign message.

During the rally in Bayambang, Rodriguez told reporters why Marcos proceeded with their Pangasinan commitments.

“This is our way of directly communicating with the Filipino people. This is our way of communicating unadulterated, unfiltered, and unbiased,” he said.

Rodriguez added the Pangasinan sortie had already been scheduled back in early January but had to be moved back due to a series of COVID-positive cases among their staff.

Even the day-to-day schedule, which involved Marcos Jr. passing through adjacent towns via motorcade and flying by helicopter to the rallies, had been subject to delays and changes.

There are 2.08 million registered voters in Pangasinan, where Marcos Jr. also garnered 61% of votes for his failed vice presidential bid in 2016.

“By the sheer size of the province of Pangasinan, 2 days is not even enough. And it’s one of ‘yong pinakamatataas na may registered voters. So it’s important and it’s important even more because this is part of the ‘Solid North’,“ Rodriguez said.

“As you have witnessed today, yesterday, and beginning last Wednesday actually, we have a killer schedule, and we have been trying to keep up with the time but medyo nale-late kami with our commitments because as you can see, people are really going out para salubungin si presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.”

Rodriguez repeated the Marcos camp’s willingness for him to attend debates should schedules permit.

He cited Marcos Jr.’s previous media appearances such as in the debate organized by the Sonshine Media Network International of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, which only 4 of the 10 candidates attended

Marcos Jr. also granted one-on-one interviews with broadcasters Boy Abunda and Korina Sanchez but declined journalist Jessica Soho’s interview invite.

Marcos’s camp has yet to confirm if he would participate in the first debate organized by the Commission on Elections to be held in Bulacan on March 19.

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