March 19, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday said while he prefers to campaign with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, her health should come first.
“We had planned to be together during the campaign. That was always the original plan,” Marcos said in an interview on the sidelines of his unity caravan in Cebu City.
“But I suppose her health issues have overtaken her and she has just to attend to that. And I think that she would be able to overcome this new obstacle and she will be joining us in the campaign soon enough,” he added.
On Thursday, Santiago announced that she will skip the scheduled second presidential debate on March 20 at the University of the Philippines Cebu.
In a statement, Santiago said she had been “accepted as fit to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill.”
“I am very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people,” the presidential aspirant said.
Marcos noted that while it is ideal for them to campaign together, the trend of the current campaign seems to gear towards individual campaigning rather than as a party.
“I think the other factor is that this election is different and that most of the candidates are campaigning individually be they presidential, vice presidential or even senatorial candidates—most if not all are campaigning individually,” he said.
“So that seems to be the trend for this campaign, for this election,” he added.
Marcos also pointed out that being in a trend of individual-type of campaigning, the candidate’s character, not so much on party affiliations, will play a big role.
“I think because the dynamic here is that the voters are looking at individual candidates rather than party members and that the party machinery is no longer seen as a guide but merely as an over-arching organization for people to join in in the campaign pero ang pagtatanaw ng taong bayan ay bilang tao, so character is the issue here,” he said.
Marcos said this is probably the reason his message for unity is being accepted by the Filipino people wherever he goes.
“That is why I think so far the question of character being paramount, ay dyan siguro tayo nakakalamang,” he added.