Iloilo’s streets turned pink as the province mounted on Friday its “biggest” political rally yet in support of Vice President Leni Robredo, a day after the campaign sortie of survey frontrunner Bongbong Marcos.
About 40,000 Ilonggos showed up at Robredo’s campaign rally at Iloilo Sports Complex, said Mayor Jerry Treñas, an ally of the Vice President.
Robredo’s partymate and Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon described the gathering as the “biggest” political event he had seen in the province.
“Ramdam na ramdam ko pa rin ang lakas ng suporta ninyo ngayon at sa bawat pagpunta ko po rito mula nang nagdeklara ako,” the Vice President said, addressing a jam packed crowd clad in pink shirts and pink face masks.
Robredo expressed hopes that she would repeat her 2016 landslide victory in the province for the 9 May elections, saying Ilonggos knew how to vote wisely.
She then called on her supporters to brace for “more difficult battles” in the next two months of the campaign.
“Asahan po ninyong titindi pa ang pagdadaanan natin sa darating na dalawa’t kalahating buwan,” Robredo said. “Pero buong-buo ang tiwala ko sa mga Ilonggo; buo din ang paniniwala ko sa mga Pilipino: Tatapatan po natin ang anumang hamon ng pinagbigkis nating lakas.”
Her campaign rally was star-studded. She shared the stage with actress Sharon Cuneta, Pangilinan’s wife, as well as Cherry Pie Picache, Edu Manzano, Rica Peralejo, Bituin Escalante, Lara Quigaman-Alcaraz, Ogie Diaz, Noel Ferrer, and Gabby Padilla.
Rock icon Ely Buendia also sent the crowd dancing to ’90s rock nostalgia as he performed Eraserheads’ hits like “Ligaya.” He even reworked the lyrics to “Pare Ko,” singing, “Basta’t iboto ninyo si Leni at si Kiko, nandito ka ay ayos na.”
Prior to the campaign, social media was abuzz after Buendia tweeted about a reunion of Eraserheads members if Robredo would run for president.
Earlier in the day, the Vice President visited the towns of Oton, Concepcion, Ajuy, and even Passi, whose incumbent mayor and vice mayor have thrown their support behind Marcos. She also stopped by Pototan and Sta. Barbara to meet with her campaign volunteers.
The opposition bet was accompanied by her three daughters, Aika, Tricia, and Jillian.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and Mayors Carina Flores, Raul Banias, and Jett Rojas also welcomed her in the province. Defensor used to be a member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP Laban, but he left the party in October 2021 to back Robredo’s candidacy.
Leni’s Iloilo visit coincided with the 36th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution, a day after Marcos campaigned in Barotac Nuevo.
Iloilo City and Iloilo Province, with a combined voting population of over 1.6 million, favored Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race.
She got 573,729 in Iloilo province compared to Marcos’s 94,411, and also enjoyed over 100,000-lead in Iloilo City.