MANILA GRAND RALLY. Huge crowd welcomes the UniTeam candidates, led by presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, during a grand rally in Sampaloc, Manila on Saturday night (April 23, 2022). Surveys showed Marcos and Duterte are the most preferred presidential and vice presidential aspirants in the May 9 polls. (Photo courtesy of HNP Facebook page)

MANILA – Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte wooed Manila voters in a grand UniTeam rally in busy Bustillos area in Sampaloc here on Saturday night.

In front of thousands of Manileños, Duterte spoke about the importance of Manila residents to her family.

"Ang aming pamilya ay mayroong malaking utang na loob sa inyong lahat, sa pagmamahal at suporta na ibinibigay ninyo sa amin. Si Pangulong Duterte po gusto niyang malaman ninyong lahat na nasa puso niya ang pagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat dito sa siyudad ng Maynila (Our family is deeply indebted to all of you, for the love and support you are giving us. President (Rodrigo) Duterte wants you all to know that he has in his heart to thank all of you here in the city of Manila)," she said, referring to her father.

If elected, she said she will do her best to continue her father’s programs and promise to build a progressive and peaceful nation.

“Maynila, ako po si Sara Duterte humihingi po ako ng tulong at suporta ninyo sa pagka-bise presidente ng ating bansa. Maraming salamat sa oras at oportunidad na ibinigay ninyo, daghang salamat (Manila, I am Sara Duterte, asking for your help and support to vote for me as vice president of our country. Thank you so much for the time and opportunity you have provided, thank you so much)," the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) chairperson added.

For his part, Marcos (BBM) couldn't contain his excitement after seeing yet another impressive crowd, this time at the heart of Luzon.

“Ang pagsalubong ninyo sa amin ay nagpapahayag na ang sambayanang Pilipino ay nakikiisa sa aming adhikain na pagkakaisa (Your attendance here signifies that the Filipino people are united in our aspiration of unity,” he said.

Marcos had serious things to talk about, particularly the possibility of cheating in the May 9 Palace race, which many pundits have him winning by a landslide.

"Hindi talaga tayo papayag na 'yung ginagawang kalokohan dahil sa eleksyon, ngunit...ay kinakampihan po tayo ng ating Pangulo. Wina-warningan niya po lahat ng mga may nag-iisip na gumawa ng kalokohan sa susunod na halalan. Siya raw ang bahala sa inyong lahat kaya mag-isip isip kayo bago niyo gagawin 'yan (We will not really allow cheating because of the election, our President is on our side. He warns all those who think of committing mischief in the next elections. He said he will take care of all of you so think before you do that," he said.

Also speaking at the rally was Manila mayoralty candidate Alex Lopez, who hyped the crowd into voting for the UniTeam tandem even if they've probably made up their mind about doing so based on their chants and responses.

"Tayo po rito ay nagkaisa para sa isang layunin ang iahon ang bawat Pilipino sa kahirapan at bumangon muli para ipakita natin sa buong mundo ang pagmamahal natin sa ating bansa (We are united here for one purpose of bringing every Filipino out of poverty and to show again to the world our love for our country)," said Lopez, a lawyer and brother of reelectionist Manila First District Rep. Manny Lopez.

The younger Duterte, meanwhile, asked the public to vote for the UniTeam’s senatorial candidates.

Those who were present included Sherwin Gatchalian, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Jinggoy Estrada, Gringo Honasan, Harry Roque, and Herbert Bautista.

Gibo Teodoro was represented by his wife, Monica, while Loren Legarda and Mark Villar both gave a video message.

Robin Padilla and Rodante Marcoleta were not in attendance.

Support from 14,600 councilors

At least 85 percent or 14,600 of the 17,177 municipal and city councilors nationwide have given their full support to the UniTeam duo.

In a news release on Sunday, UniTeam said officials of Philippine Councilors League (PCL) personally handed their signed manifesto of support to the candidacy of Marcos and Duterte in a simple ceremony at the BBM headquarters in Mandaluyong on Friday afternoon.

According to the statement of support, the support of 85 percent of the country’s municipal and city councilors “is sufficient to declare that majority of the legislators in our country prefer the BBM-Sara tandem that can further propel the reign of the next national government administration.”

“The BBM-Sara's imminent victory is greatly considered an opportunity by the PCL to push for its many governance advocacies, in securing more special benefits (that) can cascade down the grassroots not only for the good of the PCL members but also for the Filipino people in general,” it added.

These 14, 600 councilors, it said, strongly believe that BBM-Sara will champion local governance initiatives at the national level.

In Bulacan, 21 of 24 mayors are likewise backing the perennial survey frontrunners.

San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Rida Robes said in a statement that of the 21 mayors, 13 have signed a manifesto of support -- Arthur Robes of San Jose Del Monte, Eladio Gonzales Jr. of Balagtas, Jose Santiago Jr. of Bocaue, Francis Albert Juan of Bustos, Ricky Silvestre of Marilao, Mary Ann Marcos of Paombong, Roderick Tiongson of San Miguel, Cipriano Violago Jr. of San Rafael, Raulito Manlapaz of Hagonoy, Edwin Santos of Obando, Russel Pleyto of Sta. Maria, Narding de Leon of Angat, Ferdie Estrella of Baliuag and Vergel Meneses of Bulakan.

"They will win because in our survey BBM is at 61 percent, Mayor Inday is 53 percent. There is no doubt that they will win because they have the people’s support. You just can feel it and they openly show their support to the UniTeam. More than 80 percent will vote here," Robes said.

She said Marcos will be a good leader because he has a good heart.

Alam natin kung ano ang kailangan ng tao (We know what the people need). You have a good heart. You can really lead the country. All we have to do is support you, to let the people vote for you. For all of us here in our own districts, we have to make this campaign real,” she said. (with reports from Ferdinand Patinio, Filane Mikee Cervantes/PR)