ILOILO CITY, Philippines – If Vice President Leni Robredo did not run for the presidency, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said he would have supported Senator Manny Pacquiao’s bid.
“Senator Manny is a very good friend and if VP Leni did not run, I would probably be supporting him,” Treñas told reporters on Thursday, March 31.
Treñas said that his friendship with Pacquiao started as they were fellow congressmen in 2010. The Iloilo City mayor is backing Robredo, even if his party, the National Unity Party where he serves as president, endorsed the dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr .
“We should always look at the bigger picture eh. And elections will only happen in one day. We’re still good friends,” Treñas said.
That bigger picture, according to Treñas, is what the candidates can do for the country.
“Ang nakita ko kasi isang reason na tinutulungan ko si VP Leni is malapit siya sa mga pigado, sa mga maliliit na tao. At nakita ko talaga kay Senator Manny na talagang ang direksyon ‘nya sa public service is to really help the small people,” he said.
(The main reason why I am helping VP Leni is that she is for the indigents, the marginalized. And I see the same thing with Senator Manny, that his path of public service is to really help the small people.)
Pacquiao was in Iloilo from Wednesday, March 30. On his second day in the city, he met with Treñas and Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., who has both rallied Robredo for the top post, and some supporters.
He also made a pit stop at GT Town Center in Pavia for a personal errand and to eat chicken molo, a local delicacy.
While the boxing champ spent two days in the province, it seemed like he was unable to make the most out of his visit. Pacquiao only has 39 days before the big day on May 9.
He said he wants to hold an “official rally” when he comes back.
“Gusto ko lang talagang bumalik dito dahil nagustuhan ko’yung lugar, maganda dito eh parang kumportable ka,” he said, even if Iloilo City is the opposition’s bailiwick. (I really want to come back here because I liked the area, it’s beautiful here and I feel comfortable here.)
For some reason, the “comfort” of Iloilo has made Pacquiao issue his strongest statement yet against Marcos Jr. – that another Martial Law could be expected under his presidency.
War on drone shots, concerts?
Instead of participating in the “drone shot war” and the “concert war,” Pacquiao refused to flex numbers on photos.
‘Ang ating pinunta dito ay pangangampanya at’di mag concert at ‘di mag imbita ng mga artista,” Pacquiao said. (The reason why we’re here is to campaign and not hold a concert or to invite celebrities.)
Pacquiao also said that he would not bring “hakot” in sorties, or people paid just to attend in a bid to flex numbers during the campaign.
“Ayaw namin na hakutin parang niloloko namin sarili namin pagkadaming tao para kunwari maraming tao,” he said. (We are just making a fool of ourselves if we pay people into joining just for the sake of it.)
For him, it would have been better to meet with more religious groups halfway into the campaign.
On Wednesday, Pacquiao met with members of the Agape Christian Fellowship and Doanne Baptist Church. In the evening, he spoke at a convention hosted by the Iloilo Baptist Church in Jaro.
Speaking to reporters, Pacquiao claimed that 90% of Christian groups in the Philippines would be backing him because of his style of governance marked with “genuine change and godly leadership.”
He said that he makes time to meet with Christian groups in the hopes that their leaders would talk to their members into supporting him.
“Christian dito sa bansa natin, marami rin. Pero hindi lang sila boboto, kundi mangangampanya pa sila at makakatulong pa sila nang malaki,” he said.
(The Christians here in our country, they are also a lot. But they will not only vote for us, but they will also campaign for us and they will really help us a lot.)
In 2016, Robredo won with a huge margin over Marcos for the vice presidency in Iloilo. Over 700,000 Ilonggos voted for Robredo. – Rappler.com