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MANILA, Philippines – First, the lights went out, followed by the music. But even as the rain poured down over an open field at the Aseana City in Parañaque City, the Uniteam’s “grand rally” seemed to have still been all systems go – that is, until the entire sound system stopped working.
Thousands of supporters, clad in either red or green, had gathered at the open grounds beginning 2 pm on Saturday, March 12, for what had been dubbed a “grand rally” for presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., vice-presidential bet Sara Duterte, and their Senate slate. But just before 6 pm, the dark clouds overhead started to let out rain.
Marcos’ national campaign manager Benhur Abalos Jr. would eventually urge the crowd to go home for their own safety.
“Alam ‘nyo ho, maraming maraming salamat sa inyong paninindigan. Maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo. Ito ang kinakailangan namin para sa paninindigan at sakripisyo para manalo tayo sa Mayo. Kung kaya’t sa ngalan po ng Uniteam, alam namin ayaw niyong umuwi, pero kinakailangan na ho nating ikansela dahil masyado nang malakas ang ulan at ayaw namin na may magkasakit sa inyo,” Abalos said via megaphone, as rain still poured down and supporters sought shelter wherever they could.
(Thank you for your conviction, thank you for your sacrifice. This is the kind of conviction and sacrifice we need for us to win in May. But on behalf of Uniteam, we know you don’t want to go home yet, but we must cancel the rally because the rain is too strong and we do not want you to get sick.)
Senatorial aspirants Harry Roque, Gringo Honasan, and Gibo Teodoro had already spoken on stage before the sound system completely shut down. At one point, a host told the crowd they did not have music anymore because of a “short circuit.” The LED boards and stage lights earlier went off as well.
At one point, Roque, Honasan, and Teodoro went down the stage to greet the handful of supporters who had not sought shelter and waited by the barricades.
The alliance’s other Senate bets and standard-bearers Marcos Jr and Duterte had not yet gone on stage when the event was eventually canceled. Duterte would later step out for selfies with the supporters who stayed in the Aseana City area.
Abalos, in a chance interview, said they expected 50,000 Parañaque locals to show up. When Rappler asked Abalos right before the rain started for an estimate of how many were in attendance, the former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief didn’t give an answer but instead pointed out that it had also rained earlier in the afternoon, so some supporters had already left the grounds earlier.
Abalos said they would reschedule another rally in the city.
The “grand rally” would have capped off the tandem’s campaign in the city. In the morning, Duterte had met multisectoral groups at a private school, where she made a pitch for continuity. In the afternoon, both Marcos and Duterte spoke to barangay and community officials of the city.
The Uniteam slate was hosted by the Tambuntings of Parañaque. City mayor Edwin Olivarez also appeared with Marcos and Duterte in their second event at Olivares College.
Parañaque is home to 346,078 registered voters in the 2022 elections. It is part of the National Capital Region, the most vote-rich region in the country. In 2016, it was a close fight in Parañaque between Marcos (85,786) and the eventual winner of the race, Vice President Leni Robredo (80,710). – Rappler.com