For the Uniteam slate’s first foray into Eastern Visayas in the official campaign period, it was a former police chief – and not the Davao mayor herself – who faced a rain-soaked crowd in Catarman, Northern Samar, on Friday, April 8.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa, former national police chief and among vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte’s surrogates, sat beside presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during the first stop in a two-day campaign around Eastern Visayas.
Before starting on his speech – a point-by-point recollection of Duterte’s campaign promises – the senator claimed he had overheard a conversation between “pinklawans” at a nearby fastfood restaurant.
“Pinklawan” is a derogatory slang term for those who support the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo, a play on “pink” and “dilawan” (yellowish). Robredo’s campaign color is pink, while her party – although she is running as an independent now – is associated with the color yellow.
“May narinig ako do’n nag-uusap na pinklawan. Sabi niya, ‘Ah ‘yung and’yan ngayon sa rally ng Uniteam, konting ulan aalis na ‘yan dahil bayad na ‘yan,” said Dela Rosa, wearing a green shirt with Duterte’s face on it.
(I overheard pinklawans talking. They said, those in the Uniteam rally would leave at the slightest drizzle because they’d already been paid.)
“Pero inulan kayo, di kayo umalis. Ibig sabihin, hindi kayo bayad! Naniniwala kami dahil alam namin – bumaha at bumagyo, basta andito ang ating mahal na [magiging] pangulo, hindi kayo aalis diyan,” he added, as the crowd cheered, “Hindi kami bayad (we are not paid)!”
(But you’re been rained on and you’re still here, that means you’re not paid. And we believe that, because we know that as long as our beloved [future] president is here you won’t leave – come flood or storm.)
Provincial leaders in Northern Samar and nearby Eastern Samar earlier expressed support for Robredo. Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan and Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone had earlier hosted rallies for Robredo.
Dela Rosa is one of several surrogates for Sara Duterte. There’s also her younger brother, Davao City mayoral candidate Sebastian Duterte. Two senators are also regular proxies for the lone woman in the vice presidential race: her Lakas-CMD co-chairman Senator Bong Revilla and Senator Francis Tolentino, a close ally of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
Dela Rosa, who was Davao City police chief during Sara Duterte’s first term as mayor, also stumped for the VP bet in their second stop in Borongan, Eastern Samar.
But Dela Rosa isn’t just Sara Duterte’s surrogate: he was once a placeholder presidential candidate for PDP-Laban, the party President Duterte chairs. Dela Rosa himself had hinted before that he was willing to abandon his presidential candidacy for Sara, who many hoped would run for president.
Dela Rosa did eventually withdraw his presidential candidacy, but that’s a longer, tangential story.
The Uniteam slate is set to campaign in Samar island on April 8 before heading to Leyte island, the bailiwick of Marcos Jr. and his cousins, the Romualdezes.
Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez, who represents the 1st District of Leyte, is Marcos Jr.’s cousin. He is also Duterte’s co-campaign manager, on top of being Lakas-CMD’s president. – Rappler.com