Davao City—Delivering its final salvo before Monday’s elections, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago led by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte rallied voters Thursday to choose the candidates who could continue helping President Rodrigo Duterte in the country’s much-needed reforms.
Duterte is the founder of the regional party to support the candidacy of senatorial candidates who would help the President.
HNP is supporting the reelection bid of Senators Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, Aquilino Pimentel, and JV Ejercito and the return of former Senator Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada.
It has also endorsed the candidacies of former presidential aide Christopher Go, former Bureau of Corrections director Ronald dela Rosa, former Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, journalist Jiggy Manicad, Dong Mangudadato, and former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino.
The candidates were presented anew on Tuesday night during the coalition’s miting de avance at the San Pedro Cathedral plaza in this city amid their chants by their hordes of supporters and followers.
The program had just started when heavy downpour sent the mammoth crowd to save themselves from the rain. The tents set up in the plaza were jampacked with supporters.
Before the program, a Mass was held at the San Pedro Cathedral attended by the Davao mayor, the senatorial aspirants and their followers.
This was followed by the ringing of the bells for several minutes to usher the start of the program.
For the nth time, all the senatorial aspirants took their turns in laying down their platforms and projects in the event of winning a seat in the Senate.
The reelectionist senators spelled out their achievements during their stint in the Upper House.
Villar, the frontrunner in the latest Pulse Asia survey, said she established 1,932 livelihood programs all over the country.
Known as “Misis Hanepbuhay,” she committed to give more jobs and livelihood programs to improve the lives of poor families in the country.
On stage, she also urged Davaoeños to support the candidacy of the President’s son Sebastian who is running for mayor and Paolo Duterte for congress.
Ejercito proudly spoke of the Universal Health Care which would make Filipinos automatic members of PhilHealth.
He said the UHC would benefit the senior citizens, the poorest of the poor and the PWDs as the free hospitalization or O-billing will be implemented.
He also told Davao residents that in line with the UHC, the big boost in the Southern Philippines Medical Center to be turned in a specialty hospital.
He said they would soon have their own Heart Center, Kidney Center and Lung Center.
Outgoing Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos called a stop to mudslinging during the last two minutes of the campaign.
“Tigilan na ang paninira like fake ballots, fake news so that the people can focus on senatorial candidates who have a platform, solutions and actions to the country’s problems.”
Marcos has been known for her slogan, “kapag may problema, may solusyon.”
Meanwhile, during the sidelines of the miting de avance, facing the media before the miting de avance, Pimentel said the real survey would be on Monday, saying it was time the 61 million voters would choose their senatorial candidates.
While there were reports that he was not among the “senatoriables”—a Filipino-coined term for senatorial candidates –being backed by the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Pimentel, was informed by some sources about the religious group endorsing him.
“Let us allow the authorities and the hierarchy if they want to clarify,” said the President of the ruling PDP-Laban.
Aside from the HNP, Pimentel also got an endorsement of the El Shaddai, the country’s biggest charismatic group led by Bro. Mike Velarde.
Despite not getting the support of the INC, known for block voting and the El Shaddai, Jiggy Manicad said he is banking his support directly on the voters being a former journalist.
He remains hopeful that his direct contact with the massive crowd in the vote-rich areas where he campaigned can be translated into votes.
“I went directly to the people who will feel the impact of what I have been saying in the campaign sorties,” said Manicad.
He is also confident that the endorsement of President Duterte will be a big help in his road to victory.
Former MMDA Director Francis Tolentino remained grateful for the endorsement coming from INC.
Tolentino, who hardly entered the “Magic 12,” believes the INC endorsement will give him his much-needed boost.