MANILA, Philippines – John Arcilla had an important reminder for Filipinos as the national elections draw near: they hold the power to choose the people who will serve them.
On Saturday, April 23, the award-winning actor took to the stage at the Pasay campaign rally of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan to empower Filipinos and remind them of the crucial role they play in nation-building.
As he voiced his support for Robredo and Pangilinan, he emphasized that it’s the people’s duty and right to hold their leaders accountable, whoever they may be.
“Hindi po namin sinasamba si Leni Robredo. Siya po ay aming sinasamahan sapagkat sinasamahan niya ang sambyananang Pilipino… Hindi po namin sinasanto o sinasanta si Leni Robredo. Siya po ay aming sinisinta dahil iniibig niya ang ating bayan,” he said.
(We do not worship Leni Robredo. We stand by her because she stands by the Filipino people…We do not sanctify Leni Robredo, we love her because she loves our country.)
Arcilla said that he is voting for Robredo because she is not afraid of being held accountable for her platform or promises, nor is she afraid of being criticized.
He went on to say that criticizing leaders comes from love of country.
“Ang pagpuna ay ating tungkulin bilang nagbabayad ng buwis. Ang pagpuna sa gobyerno ay hindi pagrerebelde o hindi pagrereklamo. Ang pagpuna sa gobyerno ay pagmamahal at bahagi ng ating karapatan bilang mamamayang Pilipino,” he said.
(To criticize is our duty as taxpayers. To criticize is not to rebel or to complain. To criticize is to love, and is part of our rights as Filipino citizens.)
He then reminded voters: “Tayong lahat po ang pinakamakapangyarihan sa darating na eleksyon sa Mayo. Tayo po ang pinakamakapangyarihan sapagkat tayo ang maglalagay ng taong maglilingkod sa atin.”
(We are the most powerful this coming election in May. We are the most powerful because we are the ones who will choose the people who will serve us.)
Arcilla went on to name other presidential and vice-presidential candidates, including Bongbong Marcos, Isko Moreno, and Sara Duterte, giving examples of reasons why people are voting for them.
He said, however, that these reasons alone are not qualifications for being president.
Towards the end of his speech, Arcilla embodied one of his most famous characters, Heneral Luna, as he stressed the importance of putting the nation first.
“Lagi nating tinatanong, ‘bakit ba bayan na lamang lagi ang mauuna? Bakit hindi ang aking pamilya?’ Pag pinili mo ang bayan, kasama na doon ang iyong pamilya, kasama na roon ang iyong sarili, sapagkat pag ang bayan natin ay umunlad, uunlad tayong lahat. Pag ang bayan natin ay bumagsak, babagsak tayong lahat,” he said.
(We always ask, ‘why do we have to always put the nation first? Why can’t I put my family first?’ If you choose the nation, that includes your family, that includes you, because if our nation rises, we all rise. If our nation falls, we all fall.)
Arcilla was one of many celebrities who made an appearance at the Pasay rally – which fell on Robredo’s birthday.
Also there were actress Cherry Pie Picache, singers Regine Velazquez and Ogie Alcasid, beauty queens Beatrice Luigi Gomez and Kylie Verzosa, actress Angel Locsin, vlogger Mimiyuuuh, actress Andrea Brillantes, musicians Saab Magalona and Arkin Magalona, and many more celebrities.
While they were not present in person, Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, and Liza Soberano also appeared at the rally in videos pledging their support for Robredo and Pangilinan. – Rappler.com