Aquino campaigns hard, hands out Roxas-Robredo ballers in Cavite
CAVITE, Philippines – He cracked jokes, poked fun at himself, boasted of his administration’s accomplishments, and at the end of the program, took the lead in handing out ballers bearing the names of his chosen 2016 tandem.
If President Benigno Aquino III is deterred by recent movements in the 2016 campaign sphere, he didn’t show it on Thursday, March 10, as he continued campaigning hard for Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and running mate Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo in vote-rich Cavite.
Aquino attended a proclamation rally in Dasmariñas City on Thursday to personally campaign for Roxas, Robredo, their Senate slate, and even threw in a good word or two for local ally Dasmariñas Representative Elpidio Barzaga, Jr, who is running for city mayor. (READ: In Cavite, Aquino 'entertains' for Roxas, Robredo)
The President went on to narrate ongoing and finished projects and programs under his administration, particularly those affecting Dasmariñas City and nearby areas, including the the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, LRT Line 1 South Extension Project, LRT Line 6 Project, the Southwest Integrated Transport System Project, the Ternate-Nasugbu Road.
It’s a regular feature in Aquino’s stump speeches in proclamation rallies for his anointed bets. But in Cavite, where the President and the LP-led coalition faced its biggest crowd yet, Aquino took a jab at his administration’s doubters and detractors.
“Ngayon po, kung sasabihin nila at pagpipilitan pang walang pagbabago, ang masasabi ko lang po: Libre po ang pagpapagamot sa National Center for Mental Health,” he said, to the laughter and applause of the audience.
(Now, if they say and insist that nothing has changed, this is all I have to say: Services at the National Center for Mental Health are free.)
The Cavite rally capped of two days of campaigning in the vote-rich provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite – all part of the vote-rich CALABARZON region. Combined, the 3 provinces have more than 3 million registered voters.
WATCH: President Aquino himself gives Roxas Robredo ballers to crowd in Cavite https://t.co/418tVTrkmb— Bea Cupin (@beacupin) March 10, 2016
The CALABARZON blitz also comes days after a possible game-changing milestone in the 2016 campaign: the Supreme Court (SC)’s decision to allow survey front-runner Senator Grace Poe to run for president.
Rumors are rife that administration allies, and even some LP members, are ready to jump ship to support the popular Poe. Aquino himself, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, admitted the decision is likely to boost Poe’s numbers.
But the President, waxing nostalgic about his own 2010 run for the presidency, invited voters to “scrutinize those running.” He recalled the physical and mental exhaustion that accompanies campaigning.
“Mahirap ho ‘yung kampanya. Para bang kakain ka sometime in the future. Matulog ka sa kotse ng 10 minuto ‘di ba? ‘Yung talagang pagod na pagod ka, masuwerte ka na 3 oras ang tulog mo kada gabi. Bago ka matulog, ibubuhos sa ’yo lahat ng problema ng kampanya. Pagising mo sa umaga, ‘yung hindi naibuhos sa ’yo nung gabi, ibubuhos sa umaga," he recalled.
(Campaigning isn’t easy. Your meals happen sometime in the future. You sleep in the car for 10 minutes. You’re so tired, and you’re lucky if you get 3 hours of sleep at night. Before you sleep, you’re told of all the campaign’s problems. When you wake up in the morning, there are more problems to face.)
“Pag kaharap mo ang media, hahanapan ng tanong na hindi mo kayang sagutin para mapakitang mahina ka. Maski na hilong-hilo ka, gutom ka, pagod ka, tustado ka na sa init ng araw, kailangan perpekto ka. E practice pa lang ho ‘yan pagdating ng president hindi ho ba? Pag presidente ka na, akala niyo madali ang hanapbuhay na ito. Sino ho ba dito ang nagsabing madali ang buhay ng presidenteng matino?” he added.
(And when you face the media, they’ll ask you a question that’s hard to answer to show you’re weak. Even if you’re dizzy, hungry, tired, exhausted from the heat, you need to be perfect. But it’s practice for when you’re president, isn’t it? When you’re president, you think it’s easy. Who here says the life of a decent president is easy?)
Aquino’s quips drew laughter, even from reporters covering the rally.
Mega Manila votes
The LP’s repeated visits to Cavite is understandable. Both Roxas and Robredo are weak in the National Capital Region and neighboring CALABARZON. “Mega Manila” or NCR and its neighboring regions, are traditionally thought to be opposition bailiwicks.
Both Roxas and Robredo have barnstormed Cavite, the country’s second most vote-rich province, since the campaign period began. Robredo visited several Cavite cities by her lonesome a week into the campaign, and returned with Roxas for a series of events weeks later.
The Thursday event was the first time they brought with them their chief campaigner, LP chairman Aquino.
Aquino has vowed to campaign hard for his chosen candidates, despite speculation of “secret candidates” given both Roxas and Robredo’s less than impressive survey numbers.
“Last month, in the first half of February, I was at 19%. Yesterday, a new survey came out and I was at 21%. If before, I was 6th of 6, now I’m 3rd of 6. We want to thank all of you because even if our survey numbers were low, a lot of you already bet on us,” Robredo told the crowd of LP supporters.
Barzaga, who belongs to the National Unity Party (NUP), is among the politicians who had long supported Roxas, even as reports of jumping ship were rife. – Rappler.com
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