2022 Philippine Elections

VP candidate Kiko Pangilinan votes in Silang, Cavite

Mara Cepeda
VP candidate Kiko Pangilinan votes in Silang, Cavite

Senator Kiko Pangilinan casts his vote in Silang, Cavite, on May 7, 2022. With him is wife Sharon Cuneta.

Vice presidential bet Senator Kiko Pangilinan considers himself a 'naturalized' Caviteño, having moved to the province in 2002

MANILA, Philippines – Vice presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan cast his vote for the 2022 elections in Silang town in the Cavite province.

The running mate of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo voted at the Inchican Elementary School at on Monday morning, May 9, where he, like his standard-bearer, waited in line for his turn to fill up his ballot. (READ: Robredo casts vote in Magarao, Camarines Sur after nearly 2 hours in queue)

The vice presidential candidate and wife Sharon Cuneta were able to vote over two hours later.

Pangilinan would often joke in his campaign speeches in Cavite that he is a “naturalized” citizen of the province, having been a resident and registered voter there since 2002. He also owns a farm in Alfonso town.

Pangilinan, the president of the once-ruling Liberal Party, is gunning for the second highest position in the land on a pro-agriculture and food security platform

His star-studded family has been going all out on the campaign trail to boost Pangilinan’s chances. Megastar Sharon Cuneta would often deliver impassioned speeches pushing for a Leni-Kiko tandem. Their children Kakie, Miel, and Miguel also attended several rallies and even joined house-to-house efforts in several provinces. 

Pangilinan’s nephew Gab Valenciano was also among his most dedicated campaigners, entertaining the crowds in majority of the rallies graced by his uncle. Valenciano was earlier mocked by critics for starting the now-viral Robredo-Pangilinan, but he has fully embraced it and has successfully turned the chant into a crowd favorite among “kakampink” supporters. 

VP candidate Kiko Pangilinan votes in Silang, Cavite

The senator’s nephew, actor Donny Pangilinan, has also campaigned hard for his uncle, not only in rallies but also did house-to-house campaigns by himself or with on-screen partner Belle Mariano.

Pangilinan was supposed to seek Senate reelection, in what would have been an easy fight for him, as he was well within the so-called “Magic 12” in pre-election surveys then. 

But knowing he had a responsibility to fulfill, Pangilinan agreed to be Robredo’s running mate after unity talks with other candidates fell through in late 2021. 

Pangilinan continued to make tough decisions on the campaign trail to help lift up Robredo, who has seen a massive groundswell of support in her uphill battle for Malacañang against the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. 

Many of the politicians who have come out to endorse Robredo left out Pangilinan in the process, pushing Robredo to tandem instead with either Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte or Senate President Vicente Sotto III. 

Pangilinan took this in stride, sometimes even agreeing to just skip visiting certain towns or cities to ensure the local leaders would fully support Robredo, though the presidential candidate would always tell her supporters to vote for their tandem.

On election day, he posted a message to his supporters to thank them for joining their tandem in their election journey.

This only pushed Pangilinan’s supporters to campaign for him harder. In Pampanga, Pangilinan teared up after farmers from San Nicolas surprised him and raised his hands before the 220,000-strong crowd.

“Kakampinks” would also convince voters to choose the Leni-Kiko tandem during their house-to-house campaigning across the country. – Rappler.com

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.