MABALACAT, Pampanga -- Senior citizen Mar Roxas shook hands with meat vendors here, reviving the consumer advocate "Mr Palengke" persona that catapulted him to the top of the senatorial elections 15 years ago.
Roxas, 61, said being a senior citizen gave him a "different perspective" giving him more "urgency to do everything I can."
The economist, who served as secretary of trade, transportation and interior under former presidents Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, lost in the 2010 vice presidential and 2016 presidential elections.
"Una ninyo akong nakilala na Mr. Palengke. Nakita niyo naman na ang warm ng welcome nila sa akin dahil talaga namang itinaguyod natin ang mga kapakanan ng mga mamimili at mga nagtitinda sa palengke," he said.
(You saw Mr. Palengke before. You saw the warm welcome I received here, because we are really looking after the welfare of consumers and market vendors.)
Clad in a crisp, light blue shirt Roxas asked vendors at the Mabalacat Public Market about the prices of pork and chicken.
Roxas' friends from the Ateneo de Manila University helped organize Wednesday's sortie, which was low key compared to the giant rallies of his failed bids.
"Dati sasalubungin ka sa airport, kulang na lang buksan pa yung pinto pag lalabas ka ng kotse, papakainin ka ng masasarap na pagkain. Ngayon, suwerte na kung maka-landing ka," Roxas’ campaign manager and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice told ABS-CBN News.
(Before, you will get welcomed at the airport, doors are opened for you, delicious food is served. Now, we are lucky just to be able to land.)
Opposition candidate Samira Gutoc earlier said some local government officials refused the opposition slate Otso Diretso’s request to hold sorties in their jurisdictions.
"Local officials are threatened to be affiliated with the opposition, but we understand where they are coming from," Liberal Party President Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said in an earlier interview.