With the campaign period for the 2022 elections already over, supporters of Vice-President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said they are holding on to one thing from their “people’s campaign” – hope.
Inky Zapante did not expect her last-minute “Leni-Kiko” banner would be a hit among those who attended the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem’s miting de avance in Makati City on Saturday.
Even after the candidates had already left the stage at their end of the program, many supporters – especially youth – continued to approach Zapante’s hand-painted pink banner on the sidewalk of Ayala Ave. to sign their names or write quips.
Zapante, who came from Rizal, had planned a more outlandish gimmick for this last rally but ended up with what she could cram the night before.
“Sabi ko, ano kayang ilalagay ko, ‘Filipinos for Leni’? E gabing-gabi na, puyat na ako, 10 o’clock. Siguro 1 o’clock na ako natapos, sabi ko sige ’yan na lang. Kanina, inilatag ko na lang, may dala akong pentel, papirmahan ko na lang para ‘attendance’,” she said.
Zapante said she hoped she would get the chance to personally hand over the signed banner as a gift to Robredo, more so if the she became president.
From someone who voted for President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and initially supported Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in this election, Zapante said her “searching” brought her to Robredo.
Now, she said she has been defending Robredo online and is even trying to convince her husband to make the same switch.
“Nanay din ako, apat na ang anak ko. Ito ’yong babaeng iboboto ko. Doon ko talaga nakita from the heart, talagang ganito,” Zapante said.
In her final campaign speech, Robredo thanked those who took part in the campaign, calling on them to celebrate the end of a “historic” run for the presidency.
“Ang laban na ito, hindi tungkol sa isang tao o kandidato. Behikulo lang ako ng pag-ibig na sumasaklaw sa inyo,” she said.
The miting de avance, which covered 3 adjacent roads in the business district, brought out both veterans and newbies to the Leni-Kiko rallies.
Josh Legaspi, a college student from Pateros, attended for the first time.
After hearing from friends of the atmosphere in previous campaign events, he said he found his experience “inspiring”.
“Ang number one na bitbit ko is ’yong pag-asa na magkakaroon na ng bagong Pilipinas and that bumalik ’yong tiwala ko sa mga Pilipino na kaya naman nating pumili nang tama kung gusto natin talaga,” Legaspi said.
During the program, some areas had limited access to what was proceeding onstage because a number of LED screens and speakers did not work, or if they did, gave less than ideal pictures and audio.
However, the thousands who came still surrounded the screens to make do with what was available.
Organizers said the attendance reached around 780,000 people at the rally’s peak at 9 p.m.
The director of the Southern Police District, which covers Makati and Parañaque, where Marcos Jr.’s rally was held, said they would not release any crowd estimate of both events.
Legaspi’s friend, Russel Asonza, who took part in the last Robredo rallies in Metro Manila. said they felt they had to write their names on Zapante’s banner as a way of memorializing their participation.
“Part na ng history, so para meron kaming nasulat na umattend kami sa rally … Thankful din na naging part kami nito,” he said.