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UPDATE 1-Philippine election frontrunner Marcos endorsed by president’s party

March 22, 2022By Reuters

Marcos Jr leads election surveys by a wide margin

Marcos Jr’s will continue Duterte’s projects – party

Duterte yet to personally endorse a presidential candidate

Recasts with confirmation by party, adds comment from officials and political analyst

The presidential bid of Philippine election frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr received a boost on Tuesday after President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party endorsed his candidacy for the May 9 vote.

The PDP-Laban party, which has not fielded a presidential candidate, announced it will back Marcos, the son and namesake of the country’s late dictator, who is running alongside Duterte’s daughter, Davao city mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. nL3N2VH0Z8

Still, it remained unclear which candidate the popular Duterte would personally throw his support behind.

Marcos, commonly known as “Bongbong”, was the candidate “whose platform is most aligned with the development programme” of Duterte, read the resolution signed by members of the party belonging to a faction supported by the Philippine leader.

Cracks have appeared within the ruling party since last year as supporters of Duterte and another presidential candidate, Manny Pacquiao, have sought to wrest control. nL1N2OT063

Asked whether the party’s choice had Duterte’s blessing, party president Alfonso Cusi referred reporters to the president’s office.

Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar told a media briefing it was “not clear if this is also the preference of… Duterte.”

Political analyst Temario Rivera said Duterte’s endorsement was an important factor.

“Forget about parties in our system. It is powerful families and influential politicians that count,” Rivera said, adding that PDP-Laban remained “very divided.”

Governor Ben Evardone, a close ally of Duterte and his party’s vice president, announced he would back one of Marcos’s rivals, Vice President Leni Robredo. He did not sign the party resolution.

PDP-Laban was created to oppose the Marcos dictatorship, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, leader of a faction in the party supporting retired boxing star Pacquiao, said in a statement.

Marcos enjoys a strong lead in the presidential election race, according to opinion polls, which also showed Duterte-Carpio as the top choice for vice president.

A spokesperson for Marcos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico dela Cruz; Additional Reporting by Karen Lema
Editing by Ed Davies)

((neiljerome.morales@thomsonreuters.com; +632 8841 8914;))

This article originally appeared on reuters.com

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