BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Despite political differences, local candidates from rival groups in Bacolod City have found common ground: their support for presidential bet and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Several bets took a quick break from their campaigns to endorse the bid of Robredo at the Acacia Hotel on Tuesday night, May 3, on the sidelines of the People’s Proclamation Rally that gathered volunteers, sectoral leaders, and local politicians.
Robredo returned to Negros Occidental on Tuesday following a promise to visit Bago City after her caravan failed to pass through during her April 11 visit to the province.
She was welcomed by around 15,000 people in her mini-rally at the Bantayan Park, then proceeded to a hotel in Bacolod for the gathering of her supporters and volunteers.
Robredo thanked everyone for helping her campaign, adding that “rallies are a source of so much energy” and show that people are “hungry for change.”
“Whatever is the outcome of the election, ituloy ang laban (continue the fight),” she told her supporters as they have started something very important.
She also urged her supporters to continue to keep the faith.
Beyond local politics
During Robredo’s visit, around 300 members of Grupo Progreso led by congressional candidate Dan Atayde, and council bets Renecito Novero, Em Ang, Chris Sorongon, Cash Montalvo, Ed Guillem, and Jonathan Diaz endorsed her bid at the Grand Ballroom in the hotel.
Grupo Progreso leader, Mayor Evelio Leonardia, has said he will not endorse any presidential bet. His running mate, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran has been campaigning for Robredo but did not attend the Acadia Hotel Event.
“I know the event is for Leni and Kiko. I committed to Sara (Duterte) months back, and I did not want to disrespect either side,” Familiaran told Rappler in a brief phone interview.
Their opponents from Asenso Bacolod – candidates for councilor Celia Flor, Patrick Lacson and Sonya Verderflor – also endorsed Robredo at the Convention Hall of the hotel.
Asenso Bacolod’s leader, former Negros Occidental 3rd District representative Alfredo Benitez, supports the presidential bid of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. but has given everyone in his slate the freedom to choose their national candidates.
Ang said her choice for president is beyond local politics as this is about the person who will run the country in the next six years.
For her, she believed that Robredo is the “best choice” to lead the country, as she has experience in the three branches of the government, having worked as a legislator, as a public lawyer, and now as vice president.
She also said that the vice president was always first seen on the ground whenever there are calamities and during the pandemic.
Flor said that she has always believed that Robredo will win, citing that many people she met on the ground have signified their support for the vice president.
She said she is ignoring the surveys as people on the grassroots are still the deciding factor, adding that she is banking on the will of the public.
At Robredo’s gathering of supporters and volunteers, former governor Rafael Coscolluela, head of Robredo People’s Council Negros Occidental, read the proclamation statement.
”We are Filipinos who dream of a better life for all, we are citizens who want a government we can trust, a government that truly serves its people. We want servant leaders with integrity, competence and compassion. Led by a President we can depend on, a President who can help us rebuild our broken nation.”
The statement added, “We are thus one in proclaiming our full support and total commitment to the leader we can trust without reservation, the one and only Leni Gerona Robredo! We also proclaim our support for Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and Team Leni-Kiko!” – With Inday Espina-Varona/Rappler.com