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CAMPAIGN NOTES: Different women, same story in Roxas’ rallies

"Campaign Notes" are filed by Rappler reporters and correspondents who have been covering specific candidates or localities. The series gives insights into the candidates' character, trusted people, and campaign decisions.

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, along with running mate Leni Robredo and their senatorial bets, were in Negros Occidental on April 26. 

Thousands of Negrenses attended their rallies in the cities of Kabankalan, La Carlota, Cadiz, and Bacolod. Negros Occidental, the 5th vote-rich province in the country with 1.6 million registered voters, is considered Mar country. Roxas’ mother, Judy Araneta Roxas, is from Bago City.

During his sortie at the South Capitol Road in Bacolod, Roxas called a woman onstage. Named Corazon, the woman, according to Roxas, got his attention when she whispered something in his ear while he was being mobbed by the crowd as he arrived at the venue.

To, kung magdaog ka, indi mo gid kami pagpabay-an,” Corazon was said to have told him as she held his hand. (Son, if you win, don’t abandon us.) 

It even seemed a "miracle," the presidential candidate said, that the woman was who was giving him her trust was named Corazon – Spanish for "heart." She could have been a Shiela or a Rebecca.

Since Corazon was entrusting her future to him, Roxas said, he hopes fellow Negrenses would do the same. (READ: Bacolod supporters to Roxas: 'When you win, don't abandon us')

Eight hours earlier, in La Carlota City, Roxas was telling the same supposedly serindipitous story at his rally.

He called a woman onstage. He said she caught his attention when he “passed through” the crowd at the public plaza to get to the stage. The woman, this time named Rebecca, held the candidate's hand and whispered to him – you guessed it – To, kung madaog ka, indi mo kami pagpabay-an (Son, if you win, don’t abandon us).”

What a coincidence, indeed. 

IN THE THICK OF IT. Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II mobbed by the crowd at La Carlota City.

Photo by Marchel Espina/Rappler

In Kabankalan and Cadiz, Roxas had a different script.

In Kabankalan, he randomly (at least, that how he made it appear) called a woman onstage. This time it was Lani, and she turned out to be a beneficiary of the Aquino government's 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program).

Lani shared that her husband had no job and that they relied on 4Ps for a living.

Roxas said: “Ang storya ni Lani parehos sa storya naton tanan. Tuod? (Lani’s story is like everyone else’s. Right?)”

He continued: “Amo na sa paagi na chakto na paghimanwa, ma-diretso kadto ang kwarta through 4Ps. Makasiguro si Lani makatapos iya kabataan.” (If there’s a clean government, the money will go directly to the people through 4Ps. Lani will be assured that her children can finish school.)

Amo na ginahinyo ko sa inyo, padayunon ta ang Daang Matuwid para madamo pa gid mabuligan ka 4Ps,” Roxas told the crowd. (I’m asking you, let us continue Daang Matuwid so 4Ps can help many more people.)

In Cadiz, Roxas called yet another woman onstage, and she also turned out to be a 4Ps beneficiary.

Guess what was her story.

I have yet to scan reports on Roxas' sorties in the earlier weeks in other provinces. I wonder if he used the same stories and women's names too. But I look ahead to election day 7 days from now. Will these stories of women begging not to be abandoned, or being grateful for administration welfare, pull up Roxas' numbers and bring him to victory? – Rappler.com