Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, May 3, returned to Iloilo City for the third time since filing her candidacy as President.
Her decision to include Iloilo in her already packed 2-day barnstorm of the Panay Island and Negros Occidental with six days left until the May 9 elections was borne out of gratitude.
“Homestretch na tayo ngayon. Kaya kami po, iba-iba na ‘yung lugar na pinupuntahan namin para mas marami ‘yung mapasalamatan namin,” Robredo said in her speech at the District 2 volunteers’ assembly in Brgy. Cabugao Sur in Santa Barbara, Iloilo.
“Hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman ng lahat na ang Iloilo ay paborito kong lugar … dahil sa maraming dahilan: Unang una, napakababait ng tao dito; pangalawa, napakasarap ng pagkain ninyo; at pangatlo, ang Iloilo po, maliban sa aking home province… nagbigay sa akin ng napakataas na boto noong 2016,” she said, referring to the 706,052 votes she got in the vice-presidential race.
Since formalizing her presidential bid, Iloilo has supported Robredo in a big way.
Ilonggos took to the streets with cheers and performances when Robredo visited last December 3, while around 40,000 supporters went to her grand rally in Iloilo City on February 25.
“Kahit wala kami dito ni Senator Kiko, talagang lahat kayo nagpapagod. Nag-umpisa po tayo sa mga lugawan, nagkaroon tayo ng mga motorcade, nagkaroon po tayo ng malaking rally dito noong February 25. Kahit po wala na kami dito, tuloy-tuloy ‘yung pag house-to-house ninyo,” Robredo told the crowd of over 3,000 in Santa Barbara.
At her second stop in Iloilo City, in the event dubbed “Grand Pasasalamat” at the La Paz Football Field, Robredo thanked the volunteers and supporters from Panay Island who participated in the province-wide house-to-house campaigning on Tuesday.
“Parang first time in history na nagha-house-to-house ang para Presidente saka Bise Presidente. Bakit po kailangan nating gawin ito? Dahil ang pinakakalaban natin ngayon, fake news saka kasinungalingan,” she said.
Her supporters turned the small gathering into a festive people’s rally, with over 6,000 trooping to La Paz to see her.
The local officials were in full support, with Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, Iloilo Governor Toto Defensor, Jr., and his father, former Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. rallying to crowd to give it their all for Robredo’s presidential bid.
“A vote for Leni is not a vote for her interests, a vote not to enrich herself in power. It’s a vote for good governance. It’s a vote for the people oppressed, for the people who have been victims of human rights, a vote for the poor, the hungry, and the sick,” the elder Defensor said.
“A vote for Marcos is a vote for the possible restoration of dictatorship,” he continued in a mix of Hiligaynon and English, adding:
“Never again, never again, never again!” The crowd chanted with him.
Treñas and Senator Franklin Drilon joined Robredo in her caravan, as she traversed the towns of Santa Barbara, Pavia and the La Paz District in Iloilo City in the afternoon. They also raised Robredo’s hands, along with Iloilo 2nd District Representative Michael Gorriceta, Iloilo 3rd District Representative Nonoy Defensor, and Iloilo City District Representative Julienne Baronda.
With only a few days left before the May 9 national polls, Robredo made an appeal to the crowd:
“Sana po ihirit pa natin ‘yung kaya nating ihirit. Konting tumbling nalang. Pag hinusayan natin, ang susunod kong pagbalik dito, magpapahatid na ko sa Malacañang.”