Vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte (Photo from HNP Facebook page)

LUBAO, Pampanga – A day before celebrating her 75th birthday, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo introduced Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to the Pampagueños as the “next Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Macapagal-Arroyo, the country’s 14th President, spent most of her life here, where the UniTeam held its rally Monday night.

“Ako’y nasisiyahan na ang ating panauhing pangdangal ay walang iba kundi si Inday Sara Duterte — ang susunod nating bise-presidente sa Republika ng Pilipinas (I’m glad that our guest is no other than Inday Sara Duterte – our next vice president of the Republic of the Philippines),” Macapagal-Arroyo told the thousands of people who attended a rally.

Before delivering her message, Duterte, together with Rep. Mikee Arroyo led the crowd in singing the “happy birthday song” to the former president.

“Gini-greet ko po siya ng (I greeted her) a very happy birthday. I wish her good health, her happiness and we wish for her heart’s desire for the next two, three, four, 50 years more,” Duterte said.

No political color

She then delivered her message to the Pampagueños, urging the people to unite for a better Philippines without the need to follow specific political color.

“Kung kami po ang pipiliin ninyo bilang political leaders ngayong May 9 elections ay dadalhin namin ang buong sambayanan na walang pong kulay ng politika — hindi po red, hindi green, hindi yellow, hindi pink, hindi orange — isa lang po tayo lahat. Isang Pilipino, isang bayan na nagkakaisa (If you will choose us as political leaders this coming May 9 elections, we will bring the entire nation that has no political color – no red, no green, no yellow, no pink, no orange – we are all one. One Filipino nation that is united),” Duterte said.

“‘Yan po ang mensahe ng UniTeam na sama-sama tayong babangon muli (That’s the message of UniTeam that will rise together),” she added.

Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, in a phone call through UniTeam senatorial candidate Jinggoy Estrada, also delivered a birthday message to Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Happy, happy birthday, Madam President. More power to you and sana po tumakbo kayo ulit at ako ang mag pi-presentang campaign manager niyo (I hope you run again and I will present as your campaign manager),” Estrada said.

Duterte and her presidential running mate, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. have already received backing from the political parties of two former Philippine presidents.

Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Duterte's Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Lakas-Christian and Muslim Democrats, which is also Macapagal-Arroyo’s party, had inked a "UniTeam alliance agreement" with Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

The new coalition aims to ensure the UniTeam’s presidential and vice presidential candidates’ victory.

The event was also attended by Pampanga Governor Dennis "Delta" Garcia Pineda, Vice Governor Lilia “Nany Baby” Pineda, and Lubao Mayor Esmeralda “Esmie” Pineda.

Also in attendance were senatorial candidates Herbert Bautista, Jinggoy Estrada, Robin Padilla, Gringo Honasan, Rodante Marcoleta, Mark Villar, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gilbert Teodoro, Larry Gadon, Loren Legarda and Sal Panelo. Senator Migz Zubiri was represented by his wife Audrey Tan-Zubiri. (PR)