Robredo campaign plants hope and surprises in Central Luzon

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition bet and presidential candidate vice president Leni Robredo’s campaign in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac brought surprises and promises of hope for her supporters in Central Luzon.

As Robredo and running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan continue to campaign all over the country, the tandem and their slate decided to hold a series of campaign events in Nueva Ecija and “Aquino country” Tarlac. On Tuesday, March 22, Robredo set foot in Nueva Ecija, where she lost in 2016.

Just beside Barangay Ferdinand E. Marcos in San Jose City in Nueva Ecija, Robredo was welcomed by 6,000 ‘Kakampinks,’ in Pag-asa Sports Complex, according to her campaign team. After her visit in the city, Robredo moved to Talavera town to meet members of local electric cooperatives.

During her meeting with the supporters, Robredo mentioned that electric cooperatives are close to her heart because her brother used to work in the electricity sector. According to Robredo, instead of dissolving electric cooperatives, they should be developed to respond to the country’s problem with electricity.

Totoo na may mga electric cooperatives na may problema, pero para po sa akin, ‘yong mga may problemang electric cooperatives, instead na idi-dissolve sila, kailangan tulungan (It’s true that there are some problematic electric cooperatives but for me, instead of dissolving them, we should help them),” Robredo said.

In Talavera town, Nueva Ecija 1st District Representative Ging Suansing showed support for Robredo by wearing a pink shirt that says, “Dapat si Leni (Should be Leni).” A former staff of Suansing told Rappler that the lawmaker is supporting Robredo’s presidency.

Originally, Suansing was from President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban, but the lawmaker later transferred to the Nacionalista Party.

Humor, music, and hope

Robredo and Pangilinan’s grand rally in Cabanatuan City, where 50,000 people attended, was filled with humor and music, as usual.

A dance troupe from Bongabon, Nueva Ecija dedicated a dance routine depicting sibuyas (onion) for Robredo. At the end of their routine, the dance troupe made a big onion, where Robredo appeared.

Supporters of Robredo were often accused of being “onions” by critics of the vice president for their drone shots during massive grand rallies. Bongabon town is the onion capital of the Philippines.

In her speech, Robredo discussed her “resibos” (receipts) of helping Nueva Ecija even before declaring her candidacy. According to the vice president, her programs in the country’s rice granary include water supplies for the farmers and medical aid for the province.

The opposition bet also told her supporters that the baseline in choosing who to vote for should be the projects of public servants prior to election season: “Ang sukatan ay kung ano’ng ginawa ng kandidato no’ng wala pang eleksyon (The baseline should be what the candidates have done before the election season).”

Robredo also recalled her loss in the province in 2016 for vice presidency over dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong Marcos J. In Nueva Ecija, Marcos Jr. won with 541,672 votes, over Robredo’s 216,110. In response, the crowd cheered,”Babawi kami (We will make amends).

OPM icons Rivermaya and Ben&Ben also performed during Robredo and Pangilinan’s rally.

Setting foot in ‘Aquino country’ Tarlac

In the first leg of her campaign in Tarlac, known for being an “Aquino country,” Robredo held a mini rally in Capas, where town Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan did his “unique” way of introducing the vice president. His speech was filled with humor and music.

According to Catacutan, he did the same way of introducing the late former President Noynoy Aquino when PNoy was campaigning in their town in 2016. Capas also resurrected the iconic song “Magkaisa,” to welcome Robredo. The song was deeply associated with the EDSA People Power Revolution.

Robredo also made a stop in Gerona town because according to her, she really wanted to visit the town because her maiden name is also Gerona. The vice president also held mini rallies in the towns of Moncada and Santa Ignacia.

During her visits in the Tarlac towns, Robredo was able to secure two endorsements: from Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan and Moncada Mayor Lita Aquino, as confirmed by her campaign team.

The Kris Aquino appearance and its relevance

Younger sister of the late PNoy, Kris Aquino, surprised Robredo supporters when she came up on stage during Robredo’s grand rally in Tarlac City to speak and show support for Robredo. Kris was accompanied by her sons. She added her older sisters were also present.

Kris, who was recently diagnosed with erosive gastritis and gastric ulcer, said it was worth the risk to step foot in her hometown: “Ang umapak dito sa Tarlac ay worth the risk (Stepping foot in Tarlac is worth the risk).

In her short speech, Kris also shared that after her brother died, she discovered a letter written by the late president address to Robredo. Kris shared some of the lines in her own words.

Sa’yo ko nakikita ang pananaw, iisa ang vision…In other words sinabi ni Noy na sa’yo ko nakikita ang sincerity at ang ability na unahin ang iba bago ang sarili (I see a vision in you, one vision…In other words, Noy said he saw sincerity in you and the ability to prioritize others over yourself),” Kris said.

Aside from Kris, Angel Locsin, niece of senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares, also came up on stage to show support for Robredo. The support from Kris and Angel will help Robredo’s chances in the May 9 polls because according to a December 2021 survey of Pulse Asia, the two are among the top celebrities that can convince people who to vote for.

In the survey, Angel got 23 points, while Kris got 11 points. The appearance of the two actress also solidified Robredo’s show of force in Tarlac where 50,000 “Kakampinks” also attended.

For the 2022 polls, Robredo will try to maintain her victory in Tarlac, the only province in Central Luzon where she won in 2016. Robredo narrowly aced Marcos Jr. with her 243,756 votes, over Bongbong’s 214,166. –

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