Reelectionist Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas on Thursday declared support for the UniTeam of presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Mandanas, who filed his certificate of candidacy under the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said Marcos and Duterte have the proven track records, competence and sincerity to serve and lead the Filipinos, adding that UniTeam’s message of unity will help propel the country to full economic recovery.
He added the country needs intelligent leaders who will continue good governance and prioritize people’s welfare, particularly regarding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am endorsing and supporting BBM for President and Mayor Inday Sara for vice president. Their message of unity is the right message this time,” Mandanas, a key political leader in the vote-rich province of Batangas, said in an interview.
Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio will conduct a motorcade along two national roads in Quezon City on Dec. 8, Rep. Mike Defensor of Anakalusugan said Thursday.
“We’ve abandoned our plans to hold a large gathering in Liwasang Aurora because Mayor Joy Belmonte’s office gave us the runaround and offered us no assurance that we will be able to use the venue, despite its availability,” Defensor said.
The lawmaker is the tandem’s candidate for Quezon City mayor against Belmonte.
“We feel that Bongbong and Inday Sara have been treated unfairly and have become victims of political discrimination by the Quezon City government,” Defensor said.
“In fact, many of their supporters in Quezon City are angry at the local government,” he added.
Defensor said Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio will instead have a motorcade along Commonwealth Avenue and Quezon Avenue.
Marcos and Duterte received a warm welcome during an afternoon rally in Batangas attended by Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) President and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, and senatorial candidate Harry Roque, drawing thousands of supporters to the Batangas Provincial Capitol ground.
Wearing red and green shirts, supporters jampacked the venue and chanted “Bongbong-Sara!” as the duo campaigned together again for their two-province sortie in Calabarzon region that started in Quezon Wednesday where Gov. Danilo Suarez and his allies declared support for the UniTeam candidates.
“Subok na ang kanyang kakayahan at malasakit. Walang iba kundi si Pangulong Marcos,” Mandanas said, referring to the presidential candidate of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) under the UniTeam Alliance, during the rally he organized for the duo.
“Hindi lamang ang ating magiging susunod na pangulo ang nandito kundi maging ang susunod na vice president (Duterte) ng Pilipinas,” Mandanas said.
In the morning, Marcos and Duterte met with elected officials and local leaders hosted by Lipa City mayoralty candidate Meynard Sabili, a three-term mayor, at the El Grande Resort, Purok 4, Brgy San Carlos, Lipa City.
Marcos and Duterte were also endorsed by leaders of various groups that include Mayor Inday Sara Duterte Philippines President Movement, Inday Sara Movement, Inday Sara Cares and other groups during a meet and greet held at Yakal Function, Summit Point in Lipa City.
Duterte attended a separate meet and greet with Lakas-CMD and friends also at the Summit Point with Lakas-CMD vice mayoralty candidate Talisay, Batangas Councilor Lorenz Pesigan, Lakas-CMD Party Youth Leader Mikaela Gloria Arroyo, Batangas Vice Governor Jose Antonio Leviste II, Batangas Reps. Raneo Abu (2nd District), Ma. Theresa Collantes (3rd District), and Lianda B. Bolilia (4th), 11 Batangas mayors, and other local officials.
Marcos and Duterte also met with Eagles Club Batangas Province, Senior Citizens Federation, and leaders of persons with disabilities at the provincial auditorium here.
Other meetings and events were also scheduled to be attended by Marcos and Duterte here late Thursday afternoon.
Based on 2019 Commission on Elections (Comelec) data, Batangas is number seven in the list of top 20 vote-rich provinces with 1.7 million registered voters.
Liwasang Aurora is the circle-shaped open-air venue with a centerstage in the middle of Quezon Memorial Circle. The venue has been a traditional staging area for large political activities.
In the 2016 presidential elections, then Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas and running mate Leni Robredo had their miting de avance at Liwasang Aurora.
Mayor Belmonte’s father, Feliciano Belmonte Jr., was House Speaker and LP vice chairperson during the 2016 elections.