Ex-Duterte supporter Bituin Escalante now campaigns for opposition

Mara Cepeda

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Ex-Duterte supporter Bituin Escalante now campaigns for opposition


Singer Bituin Escalante says in supporting opposition senatorial candidates in the 2019 polls, she hopes to be 'part of the solution'

MANILA, Philippines – Singer Bituin Escalante has not just withdrawn her support for President Rodrigo Duterte, she is also now campaigning for all 8 senatorial bets from the Oposisyon Koalisyon. 

Escalante sang the national anthem at the launch of Team Pilipinas, the opposition coalition’s group of volunteers for the 2019 campaign, held at a Quezon City food park Thursday night, November 29.  

The emcees did a short question-and-answer session with Escalante at the start of the program, recalling how the the singer had voted for Duterte in 2016. She has since withdrawn her support because, she said, she loved her country more. 

Escalante explained why she decided to vote all 8 senatorial bets of the Oposisyon Koalisyon come May 2019. 

“Lahat tayo, hindi tayo buong loob na bumoboto minsan. Alam ko ‘yan. Binoto ko si Digong eh. Pero isipin natin na ang 8, may respeto sa batas. May pagkakaiba tayo ng views, maski RH (reproductive health) bill pa ‘yan, tungkol sa Mindanao, magkakaiba tayo,” said Escalante.

(Sometimes, many of us don’t vote with conviction. I should know that. I voted for Digong. But think about it, all 8 senatorial bets, they respect the law. We might have different views, whether it is about the RH bill or Mindanao.)

“Pero ang 8, naniniwala sa tamang pamamaraan ng pagkakaiba. We believe in the vote, we believe in our laws. They believe in our laws. So we may fight over the little things, pero ang prinsipiyo, ang paninindigan sa batas, ‘yan ang kaya kong panindigan na paninindigan ng 8. Straight 8!” she added.

(But the 8 bets believe in the right way of having different views. We believe in the vote, we believe in our laws. They believe in our laws. So we may fight over the little things, but when it comes to principles, upholding the rule of law, that’s something I stand for, that the 8 stand for as well. Straight 8!)

She could no longer ‘stomach’ Duterte

Escalante also told the Team Pilipinas volunteers that she was turned off by the extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s bloody drug war. 

“In the first place, he was always a reluctant choice. This was my first popular vote. Masaya ako na pareho ang boses ko sa nakararami sa atin (I was happy my voice was the same as many others). And I always thought na (that) our institutions would protect us. There was still the judiciary. There was still the legislative,” said Escalante.

“Pero simula pa lang, ‘di pa siya nakakasampa, ang dami nang namamatay. Ang dami ng EJKs. Tapos, ang dami sa legislative, biglang nagpalit-kulay. Parang mga sariling interes nila ‘yong pinoprotektahan nila. Isa-isang bumagsak ang institutions natin,” she added.

(But there were so many people who died even at the start of his presidency. There were a lot of EJKs. People in the legislative changed political colors. It’s like they only thought about their self interests. One by one, our instutitions fell.)

Escalante said she could “no longer stomach” being a Duterte supporter.  

“‘Di ko matanggap at ‘di ko rin masikmura na hindi magsalita at pati ako eh, parte ako ng problema. Pero kung parte ako ng problema, parte ako ng solusyon,” said the singer, earning loud cheers from the crowd.

(I could not accept and I could not stomach being silent, that even I was part of the problem. But if I am part of the problem, I am also part of the solution.)

Performances of the night

Aside from Escalante, BAON Collective did a spoken word performance while Jim Parades sang a few Apo Hiking Songs for the crowd. 

Oposisyon Koalisyon senatorial be former solicitor general Florin Hilbay even sang “‘Wag Na Lang Kaya” together with True Faith’s Meds Marfil and Eugene Marfil. 


The Good Times band also played several songs for the Team Pilipinas crowd. 

But the most anticipated performer was Moonstar88 – which performed hits “Migraine,” “Sorry,” and “Torete” – as the final act of the night.

– Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.