Marcos campaign defers Antique rally 'in the spirit of peace and unity'

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Marcos campaign defers Antique rally 'in the spirit of peace and unity'
This photo release on Oct. 5, 2021 shows former Sen.Bongbong Marcos announcing he will run for president of the Philippines.
BBM staff / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his UniTeam will still hold proclamation rallies in Antique and Iloilo but no date has been set yet.

Vic Rodriguez, spokesperson of Marcos, said the “caravan-cum-rally” in Binirayan Sports Complex in San Jose De Buenavista, Antique on February 24 was not cancelled but just reset.

Rodriguez however kept the reason for postponement vague. He said: "We decided to adjust our schedule to a later date in the spirit of peace and unity."

This was after the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Marcos’ rally in Antique was cancelled after residents protested against it. According to the PDI report, the rally was set at the Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park—a different venue from Rodriguez’s statement.

It said that several Antiqueños and Ilonggos criticized the Marcos campaign's move to stage an event where Javier, a former governor and supporter of Corazon Aquino, was shot by armed men on Feb. 11, 1986.

The Marcos and UniTeam event was originally set on the eve of the the 36th anniversary of People Power that booted Marcos out.

Iloilo rally also hits snag?

After the postponement of the Antique event, Marcos' team went to Iloilo City, where they inaugurated their regional headquarters.

Although the UniTeam has kept details on their campaign caravan schedule, it was said that they are supposed to conduct a proclamation rally in Iloilo on Thursday, but Rep. Janette Garin (Iloilo) said in the morning that this has been called off.

"It was the mutual decision of everybody to postpone the rally," she said.

She said they opted to reset it after issues were raised regarding the venue. When she suggested moving the event to an area in the same street, there were still threats to sue.

"Because the situation is not healthy anymore, we also don’t want people in the [Marcos] camp to fight. When they called us, they also said, you know it’s okay, we can cancel it… Although they can defend, we can help defend the teachers and the DepEd official and employees, but if cases are filed, it will still be a bother," she said partly in Filipino.

"So the [Marcos] camp was also saying, do not make us a reason to be a bother to other government employees who may face cases if they are not involved. So that’s the primary consideration to just postpone it," Garin continued.  

This was after the Department of Education issued a memorandum to Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Roel Bermejo of its Western Visayas office over the allegation that the arc of the Guimbal National High School was covered with a "Guimbal Stadium" sign to accommodate a political rally for the UniTeam, as reported by DYRI 774.

DepEd Regional Director Ramir Uytico directed the Schools Division of Iloilo to submit a report on the incident on Thursday.

The education department in 2018 issued an order prohibiting the use of government resources, including personnel, time and properties for political purposes.

'Private property'

But the Iloilo lawmaker asserted that the venue is private property owned by the Parents-Teachers’ Association, and not by the Department of Education.

“It’s actually the Guimbal Stadium. Before, it did not have a name so when there is an event at the school, it was held there because it was beside it,” Garin said in Filipino.

She also said that the “Guimbal National High School” sign that was put up was an “old label.” Garin continued that the property is to be donated to DepEd, but it was yet to be processed.

She added that the Marcos team has yet to set a date on when the rally will be held.

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