Robredo mounts show of force in Pasay with 400,000 people, A-listers

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Robredo mounts show of force in Pasay with 400,000 people, A-listers
Vice President Leni Robredo greets a massive crowd at her birthday rally in Pasay City on Saturday, April 23, 2022. The event saw hordes of more than 400,000 of her supporters filling up the stretch of Macapagal, Seaside and Diokno boulevards.
Joselle Reyes for Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:17 a.m.) — Vice President Leni Robredo had quite the birthday bash in Pasay City as her supporters—from the common folk to A-list celebrities—came in droves along the stretch of Macapagal, Diokno and Seaside Boulevards for the independent presidential candidate.

Organizers of Robredo’s rally on the occasion of her 57th birthday announced during the event that the crowd swelled to more than 400,000, breaking the record set by the vice president’s rally in Pampanga which was attended by around 220,000 people.

Many of these Robredo supporters, or Kakampinks, had endured standing under the scorching heat of the sun for hours, getting hungry and thirsty as food and water was difficult to come by on the densely packed street.

Despite these challenges, Kakampinks were still in high spirits, buoyed by appearances from A-list celebrities and entertainers.

Earlier in the day, Robredo snagged a historic endorsement from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its political party, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party.

Vice backs vice, but drops Kiko for vice

One of the country’s top entertainers, Vice Ganda, made a surprise appearance toward the end of the rally where he came onstage in a campy pink pantsuit with a kilometric train bearing Robredo’s name.

Vice then declared that he was endorsing Robredo and raised her hand—an announcement that social media users had long been prodding him to do.

“Ang regalo ko sa sambayanang Pilipino ay ang boto ko kay Leni Robredo. Sa gabing ito, opisyal kong ineendorso ang susunod na pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas, si Leni Robredo!” Vice said.

(My gift to the Filipino people is my vote for Leni Robredo. On this night, I’m officially endorsing the next president of the Republic of the Philippines, Leni Robredo.)

But Kakampinks were not satisfied as they clamored for Vice to also endorse Robredo’s running mate, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan.

Vice President Leni Robredo's campaign gets a boost with an endorsement of Vice Ganda, one of the Philippines' most famous stars, at her Pasay City grand rally which saw an attendance of more than 400,000 supporters on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Philstar.com / Xave Gregorio

Vice, however, was largely unfazed by the vociferous crowd and pressed on with his explanation of why he is supporting Robredo for president.

Stars align

Other stars made their first-ever appearance at a rally for Robredo, including social media star Mimiyuuuh, Pinoy Big Brother host Bianca Gonzalez, Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez, Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa and multi-awarded actor John Arcilla.

Arcilla, who showed up in an all-white garb, addressed the crowd in a rousing speech that began with lines that echoed his iconic performance as Heneral Luna in the 2015 biopic of the Filipino hero.

The actor also hammered down on the theme of the rally, which encouraged people of all political colors to flock to the boulevard and see Robredo speak.

“Hindi tayo mga Yellowtards. Hindi tayo mga Pinklawan. Hindi tayo mga bayaran! At lalong-lalong hindi tayo mga komunista! Lahat ng kulay ay nandito. Asul, dilaw, pula, berde, rosas at kayumanggi! Tayo ang sambayanang Pilipino,” Arcilla said.

(We are not Yellowtards. We are not Pinklawan. We are not paid! And we are definitely not communists! All colors are here. Blue, yellow, red, green, pink and brown! We are the Filipino people.)

Birthday wish

Whether this mammoth crowd would translate to a much-needed bump in Robredo’s numbers remains to be seen.

In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Robredo placed far second to her archrival, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., trailing behind him by a massive 32 points.

But in an attempt to get more people to her side and quash disinformation operations against her, Robredo called on her supporters to be more open to opposing opinions while never tiring in fighting fake news.

“Respetuhin po natin iyong ibang-iba naman iyong paniniwala,” she said in her speech. “Pero huwag din tayong mapagod sa paglaban ng fake news.”

(Let’s respect other people’s opinion. But let’s not get exhausted in fighting fake news.)

Marcos, meanwhile, held a concurrent but smaller "grand rally" in Manila with a crowd of around 14,000.

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