Led by Baste Duterte, HNP woos voters in Robredo province
CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – As presidential daughter Sara Duterte took a break from the campaign trail, her younger brother Sebastian "Baste" Duterte led Hugpong ng Pagbabago candidates (HNP) in Bicol, home region of Vice President Leni Robredo, who is campaigning for the opposition.
Baste and HNP bets went to the towns of Libmanan and Pili in Camarines Sur on Wednesday, March 13, the slate's second day of campaigning in Bicol. The day before, they were in Daet, Camarines Norte. They are scheduled to go to Legazpi City in Albay on Thursday.
HNP's CamSur tour confused the province's voters since the slate was hosted by two rivals in the gubernatorial elections there: Camarines Sur 1st District Representative Rolando Andaya Jr and incumbent governor Miguel Villafuerte.
Andaya was present at the Libmanan HNP rally. In Pili, Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte praised the HNP candidates before a crowd of around 10,000 people. The Villafuerte's patriarch, former governor Luis Villafuerte, was also there to show his support.
Baste filling Sara's shoes
During the sorties, Baste took on Sara's role, introducing each and every senatorial candidate to the crowd.
In vote-rich Libmanan, candidates took to entertaining the audience with song numbers.
Those who attended the rally were Jiggy Manicad, Ronald dela Rosa, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Tolentino's brother Abraham acting as his substitute, Dong Mangudadatu's wife Geraldine, and Sonny Angara's wife Tootsy.
Baste was all praises for HNP candidates, highlighting their support for the programs and anti-drug campaign of his father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
For instance, Baste likened Estrada to the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who was prolific in crafting bills. Estrada often mentions in sorties that he had filed over 600 bills. Most, however, were not signed into law.
The President's youngest son described Dela Rosa as the most loyal to his father and who could help in his crackdown on illegal drugs and corruption.
"Bato is an honest police officer and very loyal to my father,' Baste said.
While he had good things to say about all HNP candidates, he put more emphasis on Bong Go and Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa, for his part, said the Philippines has to intensify its fight against drug syndcates.
"We're on the crossroads as many youth today have been destroyed by drug syndicates. Let's decide now. I'm also pro-life but join me in this fight if you want 24/7 service and love for country," Dela Rosa said.
He repeated that he would push for death penalty for drug syndicates.
Manicad said he wants to address poverty through food security and agricultural stability.
Estrada and Revilla also vowed to push for the country's development. But they devoted large chunks of their speeches to emphasizing they are clean and innocent of wrongdoing, showing that the plunder cases thrown against them continue to haunt them on the campaign trail.
Not everyone who attended the sortie was pleased. Some members of the audience complained to organizers that they failed to provide them food they had been promised.
In Pili, Representative Villafuerte used the hit action drama television series Ang Probinsyano to explain the 2019 elections to the large audience.
He likened the HNP candidates to the protagonists in the show who are fighting the villains. The Alakdan, he said, is the opposition slate, Otso Diretso. Villafuerte even used the term "Otso-Otso" to refer to the slate. This term had also been used by Estrada in past sorties.
The HNP candidates present at the Pili sortie were Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos, Bong Revilla, Tootsy Angara, Geraldine Mangudadatu, and Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano representing sister-in-law Pia Cayetano.
So many attended the sortie at the Pili Capitol Complex that it led to a shortage of public utility vehicles in the town. – Rappler.com
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