MANILA, PHILIPPINES —
Imelda Marcos expressed elation over her son strong pre-election ratings in the Philippine vice presidential race, saying "at last, truth and justice will come.''
The widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos helped campaign for her son Thursday night in a rally in suburban Mandaluyong city where she handed out fans to close friends with his picture and political motto: "Unity and progress.''
In the latest pre-election survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia and commissioned by ABS-CBN TV network, administration-endorsed candidate Rep. Leni Robredo led with 30 percent while Marcos Jr. trailed closely with 28 percent of the 4,000 respondents. Marcos has led in previous surveys. The April 26-29 survey has a margin of error of 1.5 percent.
When sought for comment on how her son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has come close to the seat of power her husband occupied for years, she told The Associated Press in an interview that her son grew up as a child in the presidential palace.
"We were there for more than 20 years. Well, it will look familiar,'' she said.
President Benigno Aquino III and human rights victims during the Marcos dictatorship have campaigned against Marcos Jr., citing his refusal to categorically apologize for rights abuses and economic plunder blamed on the late leader.
Aquino's father, a former senator who opposed the dictatorship, was assassinated at the Manila airport in 1983 while returning from U.S. exile, sparking protests that spread and culminated in the 1986 "people power'' revolt that ousted the strongman.
The dictator lived in exile with his wife and children in Hawaii, where he died in 1989. His remains were later returned to his northern Philippine hometown of Batac, where his glass coffin has become a tourist attraction.
Asked if Mrs. Marcos felt vindicated with her son's strong poll ratings ahead of Monday's elections despite the many allegations against the Marcoses, she did not answer categorically but thanked God and the Filipino people.
"At last truth and justice will come,'' she said. "Sometimes the truth and justice grinds exceedingly slow but it grinds exceedingly well.''
Marcos is running for re-election for a seat in the House of Representatives representing her husband's northern provincial bailiwick of Ilocos Norte. A daughter is also seeking re-election as Ilocos governor. Both are running unopposed.
Mrs. Marcos was seen in a wheelchair in a church in February and reportedly had been feeling sick around that time. She looked upbeat, however, as close family friends greeted and took selfies with her at her son's campaign rally late Thursday.
"I just came from Ilocos and I'm going back again in a few hours,'' she said, suggesting she was strong enough to travel back and forth from Manila to the far northern province.
Mrs. Marcos said she still felt strong ``because I'm only 86,'' letting out a hearty laugh.