By Jun Ledesma

IF the number of attendees on political proclamation rallies was to be the barrometer of who will likely win in the May 9, 2022, presidential elections it is indubitable that Bongbong Marcos and Inday Sara Duterte are the clear winners. In and out of the huge Philippine arena, were teeming with supporters who came from all nooks and corners of the country to root for the UniTeam. 

Inday Sara arrived in the venue from her strenuous Mahalin Natin ang Pilipinas Ride which started in Davao City on February 1. Bongbong made his sorties too in various places in western Mindanao. Both were received by enthusiastic supporters who lined up the highways to have a glimpse and photo opportunities with their candidates. 

The Philippine Arena allowed only 50% occupancy following the guidelines set by IATF. To keep track of the numbers tickets were issued by the events manager. Not everyone can be accommodated since only 25 thousand are allowed inside. Thousands have to settle outside the arena. It was like a BTS concert!

And they were all there. The senatorial bets were all beaming with pride and confidence they were included in the BBM-SARA UniTeam 2022. Gibo Teodoro, Harry Roque,  Mark Villar, Migz Zubiri, Jinggoy Estrada, Rodante Marcoleta, Herbert Bautista, Loren Legarda (on video), Gringo Honasan (represented by his wife), Sherwin Gatchalian, and Larry Gadon. 

Eleven in all. Inday Sara, however, made mention of three others namely Sal Panelo, Chiz Escudero, and Robin Padilla. It’s like having all three but she can only have one which she left to the electorates to choose. 

The Liberal Party or what is now popularly known as “Pinklawan” had their proclamation event in hometown Naga. VP Leni Robredo led the pack with Kiko Pangilinan by her side. The rally was (movie) star-studded complete with choral groups. Their media outfits estimated the crowd at 20-thousands. The senatorial slate moreover seemed to be absent during the event. Sadly the rally was marred by a roudy group shouting “Marcos pa rin” to which VP Leni could only say “huwag pasaway”. 

Manny Pacquiao of Promdi Party staged his initial campaign salvo in General Santos City with only senator bets Raffy Tulfo and a certain Lut Barbo present. His vice presidential candidate Lito Atienza was missing. Earlier, Manny’s mother Dionisia was quoted as saying that she is worried her son might run out of money as she had seen oodles of cash being given away by her boxing-great son. Not much crowd here as the city is reeling with Covid-19 cases. 

The proclamation rally of  Partido Reporma led by Ping Lacson and running mate Tito Sotto in Imus (Cavite) grandstand was the least attended with about 4,000 fans present.  The members of “Eat Bulaga” were there in full force. Senatorial bets who graced the occasion were: former police chief Guillermo Eleazar, former Makati congressman Monsour del Rosario. Minguita Padilla, former senator JV Ejercito and former agriculture secretary Manny Piñol. Other candidates which Partido Reporma adopted were at BBM-SARA UniTeam event at the Philippine Arena.  Sherwin Gatchalian and Herbert Bautista were disowned by Lacson in the process. 

There was really nothing new which we haven’t heard from the pre-proclamation events. What really speaks for the truth is the number of supporters who showed up in each of the rallies. As they say, pictures speak a thousand words. A couple of days had elapsed since the proclamation events happened. The only issue that stayed on as the talk of the town was the exemplary hosting of Toni Gonzaga of the BBM-SARA UniTeam event. ABS-CBN let go of Toni in PBB (Pinoy Big Brother) the day after interspersed with some unkind remarks from her colleagues in the TV and movie industry. But the denunciations speak of the character and plasticity of those who spoke ill of Toni for they too have their own political penchants.  

Anyway, let us see who will win this derby. 

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.