By Ernie Reyes
ILOILO CITY — Senator and vice-presidential candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan received a morale boost in his bid for the second-highest seat of the land after his two-day visit here, November 3 to 4.
During the two-day caravan of the Team Robredo-Pangilinan (TROPA) here, various groups originally formed to back Robredo’s campaign also confirmed their support for Pangilinan’s vice-presidential bid.
According to lawyer Larry Firmeza, a member of Ilonggo Lawyers for Leni, the group will do some grassroots campaigns for both Robredo and Pangilinan.
“We, Ilonggo Lawyers for Leni, have already started our Facebook page. But in the succeeding months, we will go to the grassroots to campaign for Leni and Kiko. We will go house-to-house, secluded places, hard-to-reach and faraway places and inform other people of the excellent platforms of Leni and Kiko should they be elected,” he said.
Despite the massive machinery of the opponents and the successive murder cases against lawyers, Firmeza’s group remains unfazed, saying there is no time to be afraid.
“You know if you’re going to be scared with whatever, like Covid or the opponents, nothing will happen. We have to take risks because our candidates already did their part and took the risk,” Firmeza said.
Meanwhile, doctor Emily Jardaleza of the Doctors for Leni believes that Pangilinan is the most fit candidate for the vice presidency.
“If Leni wins, Kiko will be there for her. I am sure that Kiko will fully support Leni and not give her unnecessary headaches. The role of the vice president is very important, and no other candidate is fit other than Kiko,” she said.
Bikers for Leni’s Jon Dellarmente echoes Jardaleza’s statement, adding that Pangilinan is worthy of support because of his clean track record.
“Marami na tayong narinig na mga alegasyon ng korapsyon sa iba’t ibang politiko pero patuloy pa rin silang nandiyan sa pwesto at nagnanakaw. Si Kiko, kailanman ay wala tayong narinig na ganito kasi tapat siya sa kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin sa ating bayan. Kailangan natin ng mas maraming Kiko para naman umunlad na ang Pilipinas,” Dellarmente said.
Before concluding his trip to the province, Pangilinan expressed his gratitude to the Ilonggos for their undying support for him even during his senatorial bid in 2007 and 2016.
“Thank you for your warm support, Iloilo. You give us the strength. You inspire us. You encourage us to really fight until we make things right,” Panglinan shared.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Iloilo na noong 2017, nang hindi tumakbo si Senate President [Franklin] Drilon, ako po ang ginawa niyong number one dito sa Iloilo City. Noong 2016, nang tumakbo si Senate President Drilon, ako po ay ginawa niyong number two dito sa Iloilo City,” he added.
Despite the strong disinformation and smear campaigns being lodged against him and Vice President Leni Robredo, Pangilinan remains optimistic that people, especially Ilonggos, will choose candidates based on the truth of their political track record.
“Ako ay naniniwala our citizens are capable of making informed decisions. Kailangan lang natin silang kumbinsehin. Kailangan lang nating kausapin nang maayos at paliwanagan kung ano ang totoo sa hindi totoo,” Pangilinan shared.
Amid the character assassinations that TROPA receives daily, Pangilinan reminded his supporters to not take a page from the opponent’s playbook. Instead, supporters should echo the “mas radikal ang magmahal” message.
“The avalanche of disinformation is confusing a number of our citizens, and so we must have an avalanche of truth. That’s what we’re supposed to do between now and May. Let the voters know who they should be choosing in terms of real, tangible, concrete achievements in their performance as public servants,” Pangilinan said.
The lawmaker admitted that while the upcoming battle is tiring and challenging, he draws strength from his supporters and the main goal of achieving a better Philippines.
“But why are we doing this? We are doing this for our children because they deserve better – a future wherein there is respect, love, understanding, and compassion, and not a future where there is hate, anger, bitterness, and violence,” Pangilinan said.