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Imelda: My son will make PH great

TACLOBAN SORTIE Former first lady Imelda Marcos campaigns for her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong”Marcos Jr., and nephew, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, at the RTR gymnasium in Tacloban City, a political bailiwick of the Marcoses and Romualdezes. JOEY S. GABIETA/ INQUIRER VISAYAS

TACLOBAN SORTIE Former first lady Imelda Marcos campaigns for her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong”Marcos Jr., and nephew, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, at the RTR gymnasium in Tacloban City, a political bailiwick of the Marcoses and Romualdezes. JOEY S. GABIETA/ INQUIRER VISAYAS

TACLOBAN CITY—If you vote for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., you will make this country great again.

That’s the campaign pitch of Imelda Marcos for her son, who is leading popularity surveys in the vice presidential race barely two weeks before the May 9 elections.

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Speaking before a crowd of 1,500 at the Remedios Trinidad Romualdez gymnasium in downtown Tacloban, the former first lady said the Solid North of the Ilocano-speaking region and the Warays of Eastern Visayas “should unite so that our nation will be great again.”

“I am campaigning for us to unite, which is the theme of my son Bongbong,” she said.

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On the stage with Imelda were Marcos Jr., her nephew Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who is running for senator, Tacloban mayoral candidate Cristina Romualdez and Yedda Romualdez, who is seeking a congressional seat in Leyte’s first district.

In her 15-minute speech, Imelda recounted the “persecution” her family suffered after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution ousted the Marcoses after a 20-year rule.

She recalled how she and her family were “kidnapped,” exiled to Hawaii and slapped with string of charges filed by the government allegedly for amassing ill-gotten wealth.

Bongbong has been singled out for vilification by the Aquino administration and his vice presidential rivals for refusing to apologize for the human rights abuses of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and shrugging off demands that he return billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth that the family had allegedly amassed in 14 years of martial law.

In his speech, Bongbong said he was happy to set foot in Leyte which he considered his home. He said he was happy  that his campaign platform had been well-received during his campaign throughout the country.

“Our leaders, instead of uniting us, are causing division for the sake of politics. What is happening now is that we cannot be together because we belong to different parties. That is not right,” the senator said.

Present times, he pointed out, call for the country’s oneness by reviving the “bayanihan” spirit. He said that if all Filipinos used their skills, talent, good traits and hard work to the country’s benefit, progress will be felt in all levels of society.

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“I am now 86 years old but my heart is still here and my love remains strong for my fellow Filipinos, especially for the country,” said the former first lady.

“There is really no reason for the country to suffer. We really need to have a leader who cares for the Philippines and who has the intellect to know what is good for the Filipinos,” she pointed out, adding that her marriage to her late husband unified the Waray and the Ilocano peoples.

She said, “We need to love each other not only for our nation’s future but also so our nation will be great again.”

The Ilocos Norte representative urged the people of Eastern Visayas, with more than 2.6 million registered voters, to vote for her son, saying that he has “heart, compassion and wisdom.”

“If you vote for Marcos and Romualdez, you will have Imelda as your mother whose love is boundless for all. You can be sure that if Marcos and Romualdez win, everybody wins because we are here not for us, but for you,” she said.

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