Cebu News

Ceboom! grand people’s rally: Huge crowd for Robredo  

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo - The Freeman
Ceboom! grand people�s rally: Huge crowd for Robredo          
A huge crowd is seen at the Leni-Kiko Ceboom! Grand People’s Rally in Mandaue City last night. Earlier, Vice President Leni Robredo and runningmate Senator Kiko Pangilinan met with Danao City Mayor Ramon Durano III, Cebu gubernatorial candidate Ace Durano, Vice Governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, former vice governor Agnes Magpale and Magpale's younger brother Dr. Joselito Almendras.
Joy Torrejos

CEBU, Philippines —  Police and organizers made conflicting claims as to the crowd count at the Leni-Kiko Ceboom! Grand People’s Rally in Mandaue City yesterday.

Police Lt. Colonel Franco Oriol, deputy director for operations of Mandaue City Police Office, pegged the crowd at about 50,000 shortly before 8 p.m.

On the other hand, event head coordinator Ricky Ballesteros said that the crowd reached almost 250,000.

Anol Mongaya, convenor of Leni-Ace-Junjun Movement, said the crowd stood at 320,000.

Ballesteros, in a Facebook post, wrote: “The area is 52,659 sq[uare] meters multiplied by four or five persons in a square meter. Estimated crowd at the Grand Rally for Leni-Kiko is more or less 250,000 at the North Reclamation Area.”

In justifying the police’s count, Oriol, for his part, said that the venue was about five hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 square meters). However, he said that one hectare was used as stage, as well as holding area for VIPs, emergency personnel, firetrucks, and ambulances.

“So ang nagamit ra for the crowd is only four hectares,” said Oriol.

He then claimed that only one-fourth per quadrant of the four hectares was allegedly filled with people. Using four people as a standard per square meter, the police came up with around 40,000 by 7 p.m. and 50,000 by 7:30 p.m.

“So nakita nato sa atong drone shots nga sa usa ka ektarya, quadrant, one-fourth lang ang na-occupy -- ang duol ra sa stage. So given nga one-fourth lang, given each quadrant, that is how I come up with 40,000,” said Oriol.

“Kay sa usa ka hectare wala man ma-occupy tanan, portion lang sa one hectare…ang kato lang duol sa stage. Daghan pa’g spaces nga wala na-occupy. We have basis for that, pero kung tan-awon nimo ang pictures sa eye level, daghang tawo,” he added.

From the photos that circulated online and accounts from supporters and journalists who covered the rally, however, the claim that only one-fourth of the area was occupied – whether as of 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. -- was unbelievable.

The photos showed that the entire venue was bursting with spectators – from the side of the road all the way to the stage. There were also other people who preferred to stay not exactly in the venue but in its vicinity, such as in nearby hotels, vacant lots, and other establishments.

Four days ago, the UniTeam of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte also held its grand rally on a 2.9-hectare lot at the South Road Properties.

Despite being only half as big as the Ceboom venue, police estimated that the UniTeam rally managed to draw 300,000 people.  — Sanden J. Anadia and Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, JMD (FREEMAN)

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